Janie Looking at Herself in the Mirror

“Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass.  It had been a long time since she had remembered.  Perhaps she’d better look.  She went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features.  The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place.  She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was there.  She took careful stock of herself, then combed her hair and tied it back up again. Then she starched and ironer her ace, 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 form me” (87)

Hurston, Zora N. (1937) Their Eyes Were Watching Go.  Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

Notes: passage marks a turning point in Janie’s life with the death of Jody for she is free to do whatever she wants; the mirror scene is a moment of self- realization for Janie as she realizes her freedom and beauty; Janie’s act of letting down her hair symbolizes her liberation from Jody’s suppression. No longer does Janie have to imprison her hair in head-rags and she can do whatever she wants; the line “young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place” depicts how despite the fact that Janie has aged, she still possesses her beauty as the “weight, length, and glory was there”; Janie’s pretense of faking remorse for Jody’s death reminds me of Roxana where Roxana also fakes her for the Landlord’s death, however, both Roxana and Janie have different reasons for their remorse: Janie fakes tears for Jody’s death since she realizes that her remorse is what the world wants to see whereas Roxana fakes tears in order to gain the sympathy of the people.

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