The Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
Contributed by Jennefer Ruano
Chapter 7

This chapter presents Janie, now age thirty-five, in a holding pattern: her outward appearance of submission to Joe is countered by her inner resilience. Janie begins to imagine a different future for herself, a future without her husband, Joe, whom "there was already something dead about" (73). As Joe ages physically, he begins to talk frequently about how noticeable Janie’s aging is, especially in the store where he has an audience. One day, with a sizeable crowd gathered in the store, Janie counters Joe’s abuse with a below the belt verbal attack of her own. In doing so Janie essentially robs Joe of "his illusion of irresistible maleness that all men cherish" (75). Embarrassed by Janie in front of his peers, Joe strikes Janie drives her from the store in a failed attempt to maintain superiority over her.

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