86 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2021
    1. gilding

      Any chance he's chosen this word--from among the several dozen or so at his disposal--for its homophonic play with "gelding"? Any chance at all? Betcha . . .

  2. Apr 2018
    1. He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love.

      I suppose one might very well replace "self-crushing" for "self-destructive." Are men often--or ever--sucked into a relationship by a charming woman?

    2. They counted it together—three hundred and twenty-two dollars. It was almost like Tea Cake had held up the Paymas-ter. He made her take the two hundred and put it back in the secret place. Then Janie told him about the other money she had in the bank.

      Hurston is creating here (at least at this stage) a character that is at once repellant and unavoidably likable.

    3. “Honey, since you loose me and gimme privilege tuh tell yuh all about mahself, Ah’ll tell yuh. You done married one uh de best gamblers God ever made.

      Dear God: Mr. Right has turned out to be heedless of his wife's property, heedless of the sense that to disappear for a day (which he's done before, so at least Janie has borne witness to the behavior) makes Janie uneasy, and a gambler who thinks he's too good or lucky to be constrained by the laws of probability. How can this end well?

    4. When he found out how much it was, he was excited and felt like letting folks know who he was. Before he found the fish mar-ket he met a fellow he used to work with at the round house. One word brought on another one and pretty soon he made up his mind to spend some of it. He never had had his hand on so much money before in his life, so he made up his mind to see how it felt to be a millionaire.

      Seems to me that if you are looking for a clear indication of what is Hurston's attitude toward men, look no further than this vignette: the idea that Tea Cake could behave so freely with Janie's money is reprehensible, even if we allow for the belief (and legal foundation) that a woman's property becomes the man's at marriage.

    5. Janie dozed off to sleep but she woke up in time to see the sun sending up spies ahead of him to mark out the road through the dark. He peeped up over the door sill of the world and made a little foolishness with red. But pretty soon, he laid all that aside and went about his business dressed all in white.

      Hope made manifest in the image of the sun rising; seems an indirect representation of Tea Cake.

    6. She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.

      A cautionary tale?

    7. The corset gone and the shaking old woman hanging all over herself. Everything that you could see was hanging. Her chin hung from her ears and rippled down her neck

      This image series echoes the series Hurston created to describe Joe as he succumbed to the loss of virility and strength.

    8. you can’t keep turning round in one place like a horse grinding sugar cane.

      This simile takes up the theme suggested by the previous figurative device; here, though, the horse serves as the power source and walks in a tight radius around a central grinding apparatus in which raw cane is pushed in from the top lengthwise and the pressed out juice is collected in a tub. Likening Janie now to a beast of burden accentuates the suggestion that she has been taken advantage of ("worked") by Tea Cake.

    9. even though she wasn’t doing anything but turning around in her tracks.

      Tenor: repeating a task Vehicle: the spinning of wheels in place Ground: the act of movement being accomplished with no progress being made

    10. It made her so glad she was scared of herself.

      How ironic that bliss can be frightening, that we grow so used to disappointment, unhappiness, misery.

    11. The train beat on itself and danced on the shiny steel rails mile after mile. Every now and then the engineer would play on his whistle for the people in the towns he passed by. And the train shuffled on to Jacksonville, and to a whole lot of things she wanted to see and to know.

      The personification of the train serves to suggest that Janie, in following her heart--leaving Eatonville and marrying Tea Cake--is in touch with her self, her humanity, for the first time in her life.

    12. “’Course she kin do as she please, but dat’s uh good chance she got up at Sanford. De man’s wife died and he got uh lovely place tuh take her to—already furnished. Better’n her house Joe left her.”

      Makes me wonder if Pheoby is ignorant of her friend's basic inclinations or is trying to keep her husband from speculating along the same lines as the other men.

    13. she plunged into the abyss and descended to the ninth darkness where light has never been.

      Literary allusion to Dante's "The Inferno" (of The Divine Comedy). Also, use of hyperbole to accentuate her sense of distress that he might not actually have a romantic interest in her.

    14. That was the beginning of things.

      Continued rising action: we are far enough into the novel that there's no real chance of Janie encountering a more suitable romantic interest. Seems inconceivable we have reached the climactic scene.

    15. After a long time of passive happiness, she got up and opened the win-dow and let Tea Cake leap forth and mount to the sky on a wind.

      A marvelous suggestion of the power of imagination.

    16. However, before she went to bed she took a good look at her mouth, eyes and hair.

      I wonder to what extent Hurston is commenting on either Janie's vanity, specifically, or women's vanity, generally. At what point does a woman (or anyone) drop her guard to the extent that flattery doesn't appear to be a contrivance?

    17. The next thought buried her under tons of cold futility.

      Hyperbole leading into the motif of coldness/iciness

    18. “Ah shucks, dem Admirals is always ole folks. Can’t no ole man stop me from gittin’ no ship for yuh if dat’s whut you want. Ah’d git dat ship out from under him so slick till he’d be walkin’ de water lak ole Peter befo’ he knowed it.”

      Echoes the earlier scene in which the men hanging around the store were contesting to see who could most convincingly (and hyperbolically) depict the lengths to which they would go to secure the hand of Daisy Blunt.

    19. He was proba-bly the kind of man who lived with various women but never married.

      Implies that Janie has unwittingly allowed re-marriage thoughts to enter her mind.

    20. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.

      NIce image here as the moon rises in the opposite direction as the sun sets; thus, the setting sun would make the landscape appear to be cast in a red-yellow light. As for the implied metaphor: tenor: light of the setting sun vehicle: amber fluid ground: a reddish-yellow substance of such low viscosity that its substance and color permeates the high and low spots of the landscape

    21. Could yuh lemme have uh pound uh knuckle puddin’* till Saturday

      An idiom akin to "knuckle sandwich," meaning a blow delivered to the mouth (hence the image that the fist will be eaten).

    22. He leaned on the counter with one elbow and cold-cocked her a look.

      The implied metaphor relates to pugilism. tenor: permitted Janie to see an expression that revealed his interest in her vehicle: a punch ground: a blow delivered with enough force to knock a fighter unconscious

    23. She knew by her head that she was absolute owner, but it always seemed to her that she was still clerking for Joe and that soon he would come in and find something wrong that she had done. S

      The after-effects of abuse are severe and long-lasting.

    24. Lemme know when dat ole pee-de-bed is gone and Ah’ll be right back.”

      Hilarious country euphemism/implied metaphor: tenor: Ike Green vehicle: an old, incontinent person ground: one who lacks fundamental control of bodily functions and is therefore rendered helplessly childlike.

    25. Womenfolks is easy taken advantage of.

      Misogyny motif

    26. Besides she liked being lonesome for a change. This freedom feeling was fine.

      A great paradox of being human (and a thematic concern in the novel): we need others to survive; yet, as soon as we align ourselves to another, we invariably subjugated the self to the desires and demands of that "other."

    27. When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Then after that some angels got jealous and chopped him into mil-lions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine.

      This echoes the earlier assertion by the narrator that no one believes the admonition that God is Everywhere; perhaps because (she suggests) we have turned our backs on God as a nurturing, filial power we have decreased to insignificance.

    28. She had found a jewel down inside herself and she had wanted to walk where people could see her and gleam it around.

      Janie's self-reflection and searching beneath the veneer she had erected and maintained for so many years that has unearthed (recall she viewed herself as earth that absorbed urine and perfume with equal heedlessness) a precious commodity.

    29. Janie starched and ironed her face and came set in the funeral behind her veil.

      Again with this metaphor: suggests a woman's true countenance is textured, neither devoid of contour nor stiff.

    30. Then she starched and ironed her face, forming it into just what people wanted to see, and opened up the window and cried, “Come heah people! Jody is dead. Mah husband is gone from me.”

      This is a marvelous image and implied metaphor in support of the theme of identity, particularly the way women experience it in the world. The medieval concept was of the woman as belonging to one one of only three states: virgin, wife, widow. Note that all of these refer to a woman's status relative to a man.

    31. The icy sword of the square-toed one had cut off his breath and left his hands in a pose of agoniz-ing protest.

      This image evocative of the scythe of the reaper.

    32. A look with all the unthinkable coldness of outer space.

      Hyperbole expressive of the vast distance between them; furthers the motif of Coldness.

    33. So Janie began to think of Death. Death, that strange being with the huge square toes who lived way in the West. The great one who lived in the straight house like a platform without sides to it, and without a roof. What need has Death for a cover, and what winds can blow against him? He stands in his high house that overlooks the world. Stands watchful and motionless all day with his sword drawn back, waiting for the messenger to bid him come. Been standing there before there was a where or a when or a then. She was liable to find a feather from his wings lying in her yard any day now.

      Death is often portrayed symbolically as a reaper who mows down lives like so much grass. Owls and crows are emblematic of death; owls likely because they are associated with the night and crows because they feast on carrion.

    34. ever since de big fuss in de store dat Joe was ‘fixed’ and you wuz de one dat did it.”

      The implication here is that women have powers largely associated with witchcraft, that Janie hexed or cursed Joe.

    35. She didn’t know that he was driven by a desperate hope to appear the old-time body in her sight.

      Suggests their relationship would not have suffered as much as it has if he had been more communicative; further, and more importantly, it suggests that all of humanity suffers when we draw into ourselves and cease communicating with others and with God.

    36. Joe Starks didn’t know the words for all this, but he knew the feeling. So he struck Janie with all his might and drove her from the store.

      This scene heralds the end of Joe's power--both with respect to the town and his wife--because when a man resorts to violence (and petty, reactive violence at that) he displays to himself and one-and-all how truly weak he has become.

    37. There was some more good-natured laughter at the expense of women.

      Misogyny theme

    38. “You oughta throw somethin’ over yo’ shoulders befo’ you go outside. You ain’t no young pullet no mo’

      Sounds like a momma talking to little kids . . .

    39. She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. Man attempting to climb to painless heights from his dung hill.

      Hurston inserts herself here. Suggestive of human's insignificance in the universe AND how universal, how unexceptional is her own suffering.

    40. “Maybe he ain’t nothin’,” she cautioned herself, “but he is something in my mouth.

      Meaning, he's a means toward making sure she's physically fed. Not that she craves that . . .

    41. “Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business. He told me how surprised He was ’bout y’all turning out so smart after Him makin’ yuh differ-ent; and how surprised y’all is goin’ tuh be if you ever find out you don’t know half as much ’bout us as you think

      This speech emblematic of Janie finding her voice and using it.

    42. “Mrs. Robbins, how can you make out you’se hongry when Tony comes in here every Satitday and buys groceries lak a man? Three weeks’ shame on yuh!” “If he buy all dat you talkin’ ’bout, Mist’ Starks, God knows whut he do wid it. He sho don’t bring it home, and me and mah po’ chillun is so hongry! Mist’ Starks, please gimme uh lil piece uh meat fur me and mah chillun.” “Ah know you don’t need it, but come on inside. You ain’t goin’ tuh lemme read till Ah give it to yuh.”

      All of this with obvious sexual innuendo.

    43. Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But look-ing at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen.

      Wow! This is a fairly amazing bit of characterization info for Janie. It suggests that her first "marriage" had been one of convenience, a business transaction between her grandmother and Logan. Her second "marriage" to Joe--a man who stood in such contrast to Logan--was based on the romantic fantasies of a dreamy girl; she realizes here that she's unfulfilled INSIDE, which is what matters most to any human being.

    44. Times and scenes like that put Janie to thinking about the inside state of her marriage.

      From this paragraph until the end of the third one down (just prior to the paragraph that begins "Janie stood where he left her") is some intense rising action and the signal of a major turning point for Janie: all of her Pear Tree Dreams have been systematically wiped away.

    45. She wasn’t petal-open anymore with him.

      An interesting and evocative image and implied metaphor. The tenor is Janie's willingness to be vulnerable, emotionally and physically, with Joe; the vehicle is a flower; the ground, is a living thing's natural inclination (you could say the biological imperative) for making available its innermost self, its essence, in order to foster growth and/or reproduction. The implied image of the woman's labia as the petals of a flower is relatively obvious.

    46. Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves.”

      Joe lays out his true nature for all to see.

    47. Ah knowed you would going tuh crawl up in dat holler! But Ah aims tuh smoke yuh right out.

      Two implied metaphors in quick succession: tenor: choose a position (here, in a debate) vehicle: crawl up in a hollow (as in the mountains) ground: a narrow and protected position that is well-guarded but is nonetheless difficult to retreat from tenor: effectively refute Sam's argumentative position vehicle: smoke you right out ground: to force an animal (or person) from a protected position by denying access to oxygen and thereby threatening their life

    48. Hambo said, “Yo’ wife is uh born orator, Starks. Us never knowed dat befo’. She put jus’ de right words tuh our thoughts.”

      This observation suggests that Janie's common sense and intelligence is recognized and valued by the community at large. Joe's attendant reaction stands in contrast to his earlier position that she didn't need to be able to think and speak.

    49. Ah wish mah people would git mo’ business in ’em and not spend so much time on foolishness.”

      Speaks to his increasing sense of the master-slave paradigm that dominates his sense of himself and his relation to others.

    50. Joe returned to the store full of pleasure and good humor but he didn’t want Janie to notice it because he saw that she was sullen and he resented that. She had no right to be, the way he thought things out. She wasn’t even appreciative of his efforts and she had plenty cause to be. Here he was just pouring honor all over her; building a high chair for her to sit in and overlook the world and she here pouting over it! Not that he wanted anybody else, but just too many women would be glad to be in her place.

      Further characterization of Joe; namely, how little he understands Janie (and women, generally).

    51. Up there, mule-angels would have people to ride on and from his place beside the glittering throne, the dear departed brother would look down into hell and see the devil plowing Matt Bonner all day long in a hell-hot sun and lay-ing the rawhide to his back.

      Is it always the dream of the oppressed to ultimately rule over their oppressors?

    52. A little war of defense for helpless things was going on inside her. People ought to have some regard for helpless things. She wanted to fight about it.

      Janie's power is increasing but is not full enough (nor has she yet been made to recognize it) to be wielded.

    53. “They oughta be shamed uh theyselves! Teasin’ dat poor brute beast lak they is! Done been worked tuh death; done had his disposition ruint wid mistreatment, and now they got tuh finish devilin’ ’im tuh death. Wisht Ah had mah way wid ’em all.”

      Foreshadows Janie's rebellion.

    54. Take for instance the case of Matt Bonner’s yellow mule.

      The mule is to become symbolic of man's inhumanity to man: the black man has been the mule to the white man; the townspeople are mules to Joe Stark; black women are mules (at least in status) to black men.

    55. She was there in the store for him to look at, not those others. But he never said things like that. It just wasn’t in him.

      Janie as the possession of and utility for a man.

    56. She had come to hate the inside of that store any-way. That Post Office too. P

      Janie's discontent swells.

    57. He gits on her ever now and then when she make little mistakes round de store.”

      Here we get the indirect evidence of Janie's unhappiness at Jody's hands.

    58. “But now, Sam, you know dat all he do is big-belly round and tell other folks what tuh do. He loves obedience out of everybody under de sound of his voice.”

      Makes explicit that the sort of oppression Jody railed against having to suffer himself at the hands of white men is that he's now inflicting on the townspeople.

    59. Starks give him uh job, what mo’ do he want?

      Speaks to a thematic concern related to the idea that what sustains a man in the long-term is not merely a job (money); a man wants and needs dignity and a sense of self-worth.

    60. It was just a handle to wind up the tongue with.

      The implied metaphor relates to bringing up water from a well; here, the suggestion is that the verbal irony exhibited in the tone of whomever opens a remark with "Our beloved mayor," invited anyone in the vicinity to gather (as around a well, water being the primary source of life sustenance in any community) and speak ill of Jody.

    61. But any man who walks in the way of power and property is bound to meet hate.

      NIce foreshadowing.

    62. There was something about Joe Starks that cowed the town. It was not because of physical fear. He was no fist fighter. His bulk was not even imposing as men go. Neither was it because he was more literate than the rest. Something else made men give way before him. He had a bow-down command in his face, and every step he took made the thing more tangible.

      This foreshadows (I think at this point) the climax of the novel: Janie will stand up to a power that no one else (read: men) will dare oppose.

    63. A feeling of coldness and fear took hold of her. She felt far away from things and lonely.

      Jody's remark that precedes this paragraph shows how regardless he is of Janie's needs, assuming as he does that all a woman wants is wealth and status.

    64. It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say any-thing one way or another that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that night feeling cold.

      Hurston seems intent on demonstrating how little the men in the narrative are prone to consider anyone's feelings but their own, which stands in stark contrast to what it is that Janie desperately needs.

    65. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home.”

      Any and all of the instances in which Janie is put down or neglected or objectified by Jody (or members of the Eatonville community), especially when her discomfort is revealed, is part of Rising Action. This passage also exemplifies the motif of Misogyny.

    66. When Hurston chose a female hero for the story she faced an interesting dilemma: the female presence was inherently a critique of the male-dominated folk culture and therefore could not be its heroic representative.

      This reading goes some way to explaining why Richard Wright and other male, black critics found this novel to be objectionable. Their criticisms that Hurston did not write this work in the spirit of Black Protest is less to the point than is their underlying discomfort: that Hurston's portrayal of black males in a negative light was threatening in the extreme.

    67. Us colored folks is too envious of one ’nother. Dat’s how come us don’t git no further than us do. Us talks about de white man keepin’ us down! Shucks! He don’t have tuh. Us keeps our own selves down.”

      Wow! This is a sentiment that endures to the present: many is the black leader who has castigated the members of the black community for wronging each other, for killing each other; the fault comes from within the black community, not from without.

    68. There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feel-ings untouched by thought.

      Motif of sailing that began with the novel's opening paragraph.

    69. But when you got big enough to understand things, Ah wanted you to look upon yo’self. Ah don’t want yo’ feathers always crumpled by folks throwin’ up things in yo’ face

      THEME: identity

    70. So de white man throw down de load and tell de nig-ger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see

      Both an identity allusion and misogyny.

    71. Ah don’t want no trashy nigger, no breath-and-britches, lak Johnny Taylor usin’ yo’ body to wipe his foots on.”

      This sort of allusion to misogyny what inflamed Richard Wright.

    72. golden dust of pollen

      Metonymy for sexual desire.

    73. he saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.

      Yet another example of sexual imagery.

    74. “So when we looked at de picture and everybody got pointed out there wasn’t nobody left except a real dark lit-tle girl with long hair standing by Eleanor. Dat’s where Ah wuz s’posed to be, but Ah couldn’t recognize dat dark chile as me. So Ah ast, ‘where is me? Ah don’t see me.’

      THEME: identity

    75. Pheoby, we been kissin’-friends for twenty years

      Southern idiom, meaning that they embrace with kisses on the cheek at meeting and departure.

    76. De Grand Lodge, de big convention of livin’ is just where Ah been dis year and a half y’all ain’t seen me.”

      Part of the expository phase of the narrative.

    77. The varicolored cloud dust that the sun had stirred up in the sky was settling by slow degrees.

      Echoes the earlier annotated image of the sun and his footprints.

    78. She left the porch pelting her back with unasked questions.

      Tenor: questions (from the porch women that Pheoby cannot hear) Vehicle: stones Ground: smallish, hard objects that are thrown with enough force to injure but not maim This implied metaphor echoes John 8:7 "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    79. “Don’t keer what it was, she could stop and say a few words with us. She act like we done done something to her,” Pearl Stone complained. “She de one been doin’ wrong.”

      The subtle irony of Pearl's remonstrance is that her judgmental attitude (and that of the rest of the porch) is no less wrong.

    80. But nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody even thought to swallow spit until after her gate slammed behind her.

      The effect of the anaphora exhibited in the repetition of the word "nobody" is to a) imply that these "neighbors" are lesser than Janie in significance, despite their quickness to judge and judge harshly; and, b) to accentuate Janie's power over them all.

    81. The women took the faded shirt and muddy overalls and laid them away for remembrance. It was a weapon against her strength and if it turned out of no signif-icance, still it was a hope that she might fall to their level some day.

      By contrast, the women are characterized as summing Janie up by what she's wearing and what it signifies in their mind as to her status relative to theirs. The women's judgement is no less superficial than the men's and characterizes them as equally devoid of substance and compassion.

    82. The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her hip pockets; t

      This reference and the follow-on one about Janie's hair and breasts characterizes the men as being primarily interested in her as an object of sexual desire, objectified as women so often are.

    83. The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky.

      The tenor for this personification of the sun is "streaks of light," while the vehicle is "footprints." The ground is something like "the visible evidence of the passage of a person walking via imprints in soft earth or in dust." The effect of this implied metaphor is to suggest the fact that remnants of the passage of people and events are often left in plain view and are open to interpretation by those who take note of them.

    84. In Their Eyes, Hurston has not given us an unambiguously heroic female character. She puts Janie on the track of autonomy, self-realization, and independence, but she also places Janie in the position of romantic heroine as the object of Tea Cake’s quest, at times so subordinate to the magnificent presence of Tea Cake that even her interior life reveals more about him than about her. What Their Eyes shows us is a woman writer struggling with the problem of the questing hero as woman and the difficulties in 1937 of giving a woman character such power and such daring.

      Is it not possible that Hurston is demonstrating that even a woman with a powerful voice may find that voice muted (either wittingly or unwittingly) by the power of love? It is a human being with a rare and penetrating sense of self-knowledge who can effectively set down her feelings and pick up her reason, her intellect.

    85. The language of the men in Their Eyes is almost always divorced from any kind of interiority, and the men are rarely shown in the process of growth. Their talking is either a game or a method of exerting power.

      What powerful form of irony is at work when two attitudes about the same subject row up, though one comes from ignorance (white people) and the other from direct experience (black women)?