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Chapter 9

Joe's funeral is very fancy - the nicest Orange County had ever seen: there are expensive cars, guests from far and wide. Janie acts the part of the proper widow, but inside she feels quite differently. Before she goes to sleep that night she burns up every one of her head rags. But that is the only change; she keeps the store every day, and in the evenings goes out on the porch to listen. A young man, Hezekiah, now waits on customers later in the evening.

At night in her big house she's lonely, and she tries to decide what to do. Did she want to go home, where her grandmother's grave was? Digging around inside herself, she realizes she has no interest in finding her mother, and actually, she hates her grandmother. Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon, and pinched it into such a tiny package it could fit on Janie's back. She had prized herself, but her grandmother had sold her.

Soon Janie realizes her widowhood and property are a great lure to men. Within a month of Joe's death, men are approaching her, telling her a woman needed help and assistance in life, and each man thought he was the best candidate. Janie just laughs. She knows these men are not interested in the poor widows in town; she's angry that these men pretend what they're doing is love. The people of the town even warn her against these mercenary suitors; she finds this advice insulting and intrusive.

For six months Janie wears black and not a single suitor ever gets past the porch. Hezekiah, to Janie's amusement, begins to act like Joe, adopting his mannerisms. When Janie changes over to white clothing out of her mourning black, her crowd of suitors increases and even includes some good, upstanding men with their own property. But Janie isn't interested. When Pheoby asks if she is tempted by any of these offers; Janie says she loves her freedom too much. Pheoby hushes her - she shouldn't sound as if she doesn't miss Joe. Janie replies, "To my thinkin' mourning oughtn't tuh last longer'n grief."

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


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