Their Eyes Were Watching God Character Analysis

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Joe Starks vs Mr. O’Brien In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God By: Zora Neale Hurston Joe Starks is a prominent character. Joe Starks makes his first appearance in chapter four, where he runs away with Janie. Mr. O’Brien from the The Tree of Life, is a working, middle class man, who is the father to three children. When we were watching The Tree of Life in class, I noticed similarities between the two characters. Although the two stories were written by different authors, they have a common tone. Joe Starks and Mr. O’Brien have many similarities and differences, but I believe that the two characters are more similar than different. Unlike Mr. O’Brien, Joe Starks is wealthy and well known in the town. In the beginning of the book, Joe elopes with Janie and they run away to Eatonville.…show more content…
O’Brien is that they both treat their wives with disrespect. In the beginning of their relationship, Joe was very calm and relaxed and he wasn't as controlling. As time passed, Joe began to control Janie and boss her in every way possible. Joe also doesn’t treat Janie with respect. It is highly questionable whether he even loves her. “Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in the de home” (Hurston 43). This quote confirms that Joe is not one hundred percent in love with Janie. Halfway through the book Joe also slaps Janie. “ He slapped Janie until she had a ringing sound in her ears” (Hurston 72). Slapping Janie was Joe’s way of showing his authority over her. Since Joe is older and a man, he is also able to control Janie. In my opinion, Joe views Janie as a helpful object rather than a wife. She is young and beautiful and thus fits his ideal of what a mayor’s wife should be. Similarly, Mr. O’Brien from The Tree of Life controlled his wife. When I was watching the movie, it seemed as if she didn't have a say in anything. I also noticed that Mr. O’Brien felt a sense of domination bossing her

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