During their twenty-year marriage, he treats her as his property, criticizing her and controlling what she wears and says. Eventually, Janie snaps back at Joe, and he hits her hard.
Later, he gets sick and refuses to let Janie see him.
Janie speaks to Nanny about how she feels; but Nanny, too, accuses her of being spoiled. Unhappy, disillusioned, and lonely, Janie leaves Killicks and runs off with Jody (Joe) Starks, a glib man who takes her to the all-black community of Eatonville, Florida.
Finding the small town residents unambitious, Starks arranges to buy more land, establishes a general store, and is soon elected as mayor of the town.
Hurston's books, such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, used vernacular southern African-American English.
Hurston viewed her work as distinct from the work of fellow Harlem Renaissance writers whom she described as the "sobbing school of Negrohood," and who portrayed the lives of black people as constantly miserable, downtrodden, and deprived.The book begins with Janie's sexual awakening, which she compares to a blossoming pear tree kissed by bees in spring.Not long after, Janie allows a local boy, Johnny Taylor, to kiss her, which Janie's grandmother, Nanny, witnesses.Shortly after Janie's birth, Leafy began to drink and stay out at night.Eventually, she ran away, leaving her daughter Janie with Nanny. She arranges for the girl to marry Logan Killicks, an older farmer looking for a wife.The main character Janie Crawford, an African-American woman in her early forties, recounts the story of her life to her best friend Pheoby Watson through an extended flashback.Readers learn about her life in three major periods, corresponding to her marriages to three very different men.Instead, Hurston celebrated the rural, southern African-American communities as she found them.In addition, Hurston refused to censor women's sexuality, writing in beautiful innuendo to embrace the physical dimension of her main character's romances. also included homoerotic work as well as portrayals of prostitution.Janie soon realises that Starks wants her as a trophy wife to reinforce his powerful position in town.He asks her to run the store but forbids her from taking part in the social life that takes place on the store's front porch.