Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why all the hating on Janie?

Today in 2nd hour's class (10/16) there was a lot of discussion about Janie. Most (if not all) speakers agreed--to an extent--that Janie was whiney and impulsive.

There is a scent of hypocrisy in the sense that, if Janie stayed with Logan and remained unhappy for the rest of her life shoveling manure, we would all be very sympathetic towards her and wish that she had made decisions in her life to escape such a situation that made her unhappy. Yet if she runs away from Logan (who, while he really isn't all that bad of a guy, Janie is certainly unhappy with) we all board the hate-train.

We also talked about the idea that Janie was running away from Logan more than she was running to be with Jody. I also disagree with this. I think it's equal part run from and run to. Jody met her in the woods and they talked for three days. Jody seems like the kind of guy that would be able to put on a mask and act very suave with the ladies. There's not doubt in my mind that at the end of those three days Janie felt like the Juliet and Jody seemed like her Romeo.

To anyone living in modern western society (where the ideal of loving your spouse is expected) it seems odd to me that we would criticize Janie running off from a situation in which she is genuinely unhappy to be with a guy that seems like a genuinely great guy. I know that she only knew him for a few days, but hell, he was leaving! She had to make a decision. It was a gamble that I definitely would have taken in Janie's shoes.

In any case, any amount of impulsiveness that she had before her marriage with Jody was soon extinguished (probably by Jody himself). For I'm sure that in her 20 or so year marriage with Jody there were ample opportunities that were presented or that could have been made by Janie to escape from her unhappy life in Eatonville.


  1. You have very good points here. I know I started class by saying that Janie was spoiled, but through the course of class and afterward I have come to the realization that that is not all there is to it. I do not really blame her for running of with Jody, because her situation was miserable, I blame more the fact that that situation was expected, and no matter what she did someone was going to be unhappy. I also think that Jody probably impressed her very much when they first met. I think that they also seem to really enjoy each other and get along when they first move to Eatonville (Janie calling him Lincoln and whatnot), but they do not have a lot of emotional strength in their relationship. They are not that special to each other in particular, and so when Jody is in a bad mood or what ever he begins to take it out on Janie. For Janie, the transition from young love (with a sort of honey-moon mentality) into everyday life is a sudden and unexpected one. In this sense she comes of as naive and a bit spoiled to me, because she is expecting so much from life, and she expects this true love and happiness to last forever without her having to do anything. I do think that she has matured a lot by the time that Jody dies, because she does not run off with her first suitor in search of true love. She stays and appreciates her freedom and takes responsibility for the store. I do like her character a lot now, because she seems much wiser for the twenty years she spent with Jody.

  2. I definitely agree that it's unfair for us to judge Janie so harshly, she was in fact still a teenager when she was married to Logan. Instead we should criticize Nanny for not teaching her what to expect in terms of love and marriage.

  3. I think that Janie's whining was a bit overexaggerated today in class, especially for her marriage with Logan, but I still dontfeel completely sympathetic for Janie. SHe could have told Logan that she didn't want to shovel manure and that she would help some other way, but instead she takes offense at the fact that he asked her to shovel manure, as if that task was beneath her. You do make good points, RJ, about her marriag with Jody and I definitely agree that if she really wanted to she could have got out of that marriage as well.

  4. I agree with you, and I talk about this in my blog post as well actually. She deserves to make her own decisions about her life, and control the direction. She has a stable option for her when she leaves Logan, so that decision is within the realm of practicality, or at least it's not too impractical. More impractical is when she leaves Jody, and gives up her high status and position, but that relationship was toxic and she deserved better out of life than that. People control their own lives, because what else can they control? Certainly for Janie, that's it.

  5. I don't disagree with the idea that we shouldn't hate on Janie for leaving Logan. However, I still think she deserves some criticism for the way she leaves him. In my opinion, one of the main reasons Janie hates Logan is because of his lack of passion and love, which can be synthesized to a lack of communication. Rather than rising above that lack of ability, Janie reciprocates that lack of communication by running away from him with a stranger. I really don't know what she could have done in replacement of running away, but I feel that there was a better solution than that. Perhaps, Janie pays for her insincerity to Logan with 20 years of enduring Jody.