Joe Starks is a character in the novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston. He symbolizes the power-hungry and ambitious men that seek fame, fortune, and control. Joe is a former slave who made his way up and became a mayor of a small Florida town. He is a character that signifies the “American Dream” of achieving wealth and status. However, his journey towards success is marred by his controlling and selfish attitude towards his wife, Janie, and his constituents.
Joe Starks is a symbol of the greed and ambition that comes with power. Many people aim for success, but few have the drive and determination to achieve it. Joe embodies the idea that anyone can achieve greatness regardless of their background, as long as they have the inner drive and talent to succeed. He is also a representation of the toxic masculinity that exists within society. His desire for control and his dictatorial leadership style is a reminder of the dangers of authoritarianism and the harm it causes to individuals and society as a whole.
In conclusion, Joe Stark is a dynamic character that represents different things to different readers. For some, he represents the potential for greatness that lies within us all, while others see him as a danger to society and democracy. Regardless of how one interprets Joe, he is a reminder of the complexities of human nature and the challenge of leadership. As we strive towards success and power, we must remember to remain humble and empathetic towards others, lest we become the very thing we swore to destroy.
Joe Starks’ Ambition
Joe Starks is one of the key characters in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” He is a man with a fierce ambition which shapes his life’s choices and determines his fate. Here, we explore what Joe Starks symbolizes through the lens of his ambition.
- Determination: Joe Starks’ ambition is fueled by his strong determination. He is a man who knows what he wants and is not afraid to go after it. His resolve is unshakeable and he has a clear sense of purpose which drives him forwards.
- Control: Joe Starks’ ambition is also linked to his desire for control. He wants to be in charge of his own life and destiny, as well as the lives of those around him. This is evident in his approach to his relationship with Janie, where he wants her to be subservient to him.
- Material Success: Joe Starks’ ambition is closely tied to his definition of success, which is largely material. He wants to be wealthy, powerful, and respected, and he sees these things as markers of his status in society. He is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve these goals, even if it means being ruthless or stepping on others.
Overall, Joe Starks’ ambition is a symbol of the American Dream. He is a self-made man who starts out with nothing and rises to the top through sheer force of will. However, his ambition is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked ambition. Joe’s desire for control and material success blinds him to the needs and desires of those around him, ultimately leading to his downfall.
Joe Starks’ Materialism
Joe Starks, the ambitious protagonist of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, symbolizes materialism throughout the novel. His desire for wealth and power drives many of his actions and decisions, often at the expense of the people around him.
- Starks’ obsession with material possessions is evident from the beginning of the novel when he arrives in Eatonville wearing a “new suit, … new shoes, and a new tie” (Hurston 29).
- He is constantly focused on accumulation, whether it is through the acquisition of property or the establishment of a successful business.
- Starks’ materialistic nature is also evident in his relationships. He views Janie as a means to the fulfillment of his ambitions, rather than a partner in love and life.
However, while Starks’ materialism may seem like a flaw, Hurston uses it to illustrate the societal pressures faced by Black Americans at the time. In a community where financial success was a sign of progress, Starks’ pursuit of wealth mirrors the larger struggles for economic and social freedom.
Furthermore, Starks’ materialism highlights the complexities of Black masculinity during the time. As a Black man trying to succeed in a white-dominated society, Starks believed that economic power was the only way he could assert his own agency and gain respect from others.
|Starks’ materialism represents a legitimate response to the economic and social challenges faced by Black Americans during the time.||His obsession with material possessions leads to neglect of the people around him, including Janie.|
|Starks’ materialism highlights the complexities of Black masculinity in a white-dominated society.||His pursuit of wealth and power comes at the expense of his personal relationships and sense of self.|
In conclusion, Joe Starks’ materialism serves as a symbolic representation of the struggles faced by Black Americans during the early 1900s. While his singular pursuit of wealth and power may seem like a character flaw, it also represents a legitimate response to the societal and economic pressures faced by Black Americans at the time.
Joe Starks’ Patriarchy
Joe Starks, the protagonist of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, is a symbol of patriarchal domination and control. Throughout the novel, Starks wields power over the people around him, particularly over the women in his life. Below are some of the ways in which Joe Starks exemplifies patriarchy.
- Domination: Joe Starks is a controlling and dominant force in the novel, which is evident in his relationships with both Janie and the people of Eatonville. He seeks to create a sense of order and control around him, and his desire for power and influence is insatiable.
- Greed: Joe Starks is also portrayed as a greedy man who is always looking for ways to increase his wealth and status. For example, he buys large amounts of land in Eatonville, which he then uses to create a sense of power and control over the people around him.
- Masculinity: Joe Starks is a representation of masculinity in the novel, embodying traits that are traditionally associated with male dominance. He is strong-willed, assertive, and unyielding, and he believes that his opinions and ideas are always right.
Joe Starks’ patriarchal nature is also exemplified in the following scene from the novel, where he is shown to be both dominating and manipulative:
|“Ain’t nobody else got tuh say as much as Ah do in this store.”||In this quote, Joe Starks is establishing his dominance over the people in the store. He is saying that he has the final say in everything that happens there, and that no one else’s opinion matters. This shows his desire for control and his belief in his own superiority.|
In conclusion, Joe Starks is a symbol of patriarchal domination in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. He represents the desire for power, control, and dominance that is associated with traditional masculinity, and his character is a commentary on the role of men in society.
Joe Starks’ Control
Joe Starks, the protagonist in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” is a complex character who symbolizes many things. One of the most prominent themes throughout the novel is the idea of control, and Joe is a perfect example of this. Here are some ways that Joe Starks represents control:
- Joe is obsessed with power and control. He wants to be the leader of the community and will do whatever it takes to achieve this.
- Joe uses his wealth and status to exert control over others. He builds a thriving business and becomes the mayor of Eatonville, and he uses these positions to manipulate and dominate those around him.
- Joe is also controlling in his personal relationships. He marries Janie because he sees her as an object that he can possess and control. He refuses to let her have any independence or seek her own desires and goals.
Despite his desire for control, Joe’s efforts often backfire. His attempts to create a perfect community in Eatonville fail, and he becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid. In the end, he dies bitter and unhappy, having never truly achieved the control he desired.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways that Joe Starks symbolizes control:
|Business and politics||Joe’s rise to power is symbolic of the way that the desire for control can lead to success – but also to corruption and downfall.|
|Janie||Joe’s marriage to Janie represents his desire to control a woman. He sees her as an object that he can possess, rather than as a person with her own thoughts and desires.|
|The town of Eatonville||Joe’s attempt to build a perfect community in Eatonville is symbolic of the way that control can lead to isolation and disillusionment. His efforts to dominate and manipulate ultimately destroy the community he hoped to create.|
Overall, Joe Starks is a complex character who represents many things – including the desire for control. Through his obsession with power and his attempts to manipulate and dominate those around him, he symbolizes the risks and consequences of seeking too much control.
Joe Starks’ Exploitation
Joe Starks, the antagonist in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” symbolizes exploitation in several ways. His character represents the oppressive and controlling nature of those in power, particularly regarding race and gender.
- Joe Starks exploits his wife, Janie, by forcing her to conform to his expectations of how a wife should behave and dress.
- He refers to Janie as his “trophy wife,” indicating that he sees her as an object to be desired and possessed.
- Joe also exploits the residents of Eatonville by using his money and power to control their businesses and enforce his own ideas of what the town should look like.
Throughout the novel, Hurston portrays Joe as a man who values his own power and influence above all else. He is willing to use any means necessary to maintain his control, including exploiting those around him.
In addition to his personal exploitation of others, Joe Starks also represents the broader systems of oppression that existed in the early 20th century. As a Black man who has achieved financial success, Joe is in a position of power over many of the other Black residents of Eatonville.
Hurston uses Joe’s character to highlight the ways in which systemic racism and sexism can be perpetuated by those who benefit from them. Joe’s exploitative behavior towards Janie and the people of Eatonville is a reflection of the larger societal issues at play in the novel.
|Example of Joe Starks’ Exploitation||Impact on Characterization|
|Joe forces Janie to wear her hair up and not let it down, limiting her individuality and self-expression.||Shows Joe’s controlling nature and lack of respect for Janie as an individual.|
|Joe buys the biggest house in town to show off his wealth and status.||Highlights Joe’s desire for power and influence over others.|
|Joe shuts down the mule-selling business in Eatonville, cutting off a source of income for many Black residents.||Illustrates Joe’s willingness to use his power to control others and maintain his own position of influence.|
In conclusion, Joe Starks symbolizes exploitation in “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Through his character, Zora Neale Hurston is able to highlight the ways in which oppressive systems can be perpetuated by those in positions of power. Joe’s personal exploitation of Janie and the people of Eatonville is a reflection of larger societal issues related to race and gender.
Joe Starks’ Lack of Empathy
Joe Starks, the protagonist in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” symbolizes many things including power, control, and prosperity. However, one of his most defining traits is his lack of empathy. Here’s why:
- He is unable to understand or relate to others’ feelings, experiences, or perspectives.
- He is manipulative and controlling, using people for his own gain with no regard for how they may feel about it.
- He is dismissive of others’ emotions and needs, often minimizing or disregarding them entirely.
This lack of empathy can be seen throughout the entire novel, but perhaps the most egregious example is Joe’s treatment of his own wife, Janie. He expects her to behave a certain way and fulfill certain expectations, without ever considering what she may actually want or need. He manipulates her by telling her what to do and making all the decisions for their relationship.
It’s important to note that Joe’s lack of empathy is not only harmful to those around him, but it ultimately leads to his own downfall. He becomes so consumed with his own power and control that he neglects important relationships and eventually loses everything he has worked so hard for.
|Effects of Lack of Empathy||Examples from the Novel|
|May be seen as cold or harsh||Joe’s treatment of Janie when she contradicts him in front of other people|
|Lack of understanding or compassion for others||Joe’s reaction when Janie tells him about her dreams and desires|
|Tendency to manipulate others for personal gain||Joe’s treatment of the townspeople when he first arrives and takes control|
In conclusion, Joe Starks’ lack of empathy is a defining characteristic that demonstrates his obsession with power and control. It becomes a major obstacle in his relationships and ultimately his downfall. This is an important reminder that empathy is a crucial component of healthy relationships and success in life.
Joe Starks’ Hypocrisy
Joe Starks, the protagonist in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a complex character who symbolizes various things throughout the novel. One of the recurring themes associated with Joe Starks is his hypocrisy.
- Joe preaches equality but practices discrimination. Despite claiming that he wants to make all the residents of Eatonville equal, Joe discriminates against women, poor people, and anyone who disagrees with him.
- Joe criticizes others for being lazy, yet he himself is often too lazy to do anything himself. He relies on Janie to run their store, and he becomes a dictator when it comes to making decisions about the town.
- Joe tries to control Janie’s appearance and behavior, dictating how she should dress, speak, and behave in public. Yet, he himself often flaunts his wealth and status and doesn’t follow the rules he imposes on others.
Moreover, one of the most significant ways in which Joe’s hypocrisy is demonstrated in the novel is through the number 7.
Joe is obsessed with the number 7 throughout the novel. He wants everything associated with it – from the number of steps on the porch of the store to the number of employees he has. Joe even wants to build a town with only seven buildings. This shows that Joe is a man who wants to control every aspect of his life to the smallest detail, and yet he has no problem breaking his own rules when it suits him.
The number 7 is also significant because it symbolizes perfection and completion. However, Joe is far from perfect or complete. He is flawed, and his flaws are exposed throughout the novel. Joe’s obsession with the number 7 is therefore ironic because it underscores his lack of self-awareness and his inability to see himself for who he truly is.
|Joe Starks’ Hypocrisy||Examples from the Novel|
|Preaching equality but practicing discrimination||Joe treats Janie as a possession and treats other residents of Eatonville with disrespect and disdain.|
|Criticizing others for being lazy||Joe relies on Janie to run their store and often takes naps during the day.|
|Trying to control Janie’s appearance and behavior||Joe wants Janie to dress and act a certain way in public, but he himself often flaunts his wealth and status.|
|Obsession with the number 7||Joe wants everything associated with the number 7, but he himself is far from perfect or complete.|
In conclusion, Joe Starks’ hypocrisy is a central theme in Their Eyes Were Watching God. It is demonstrated through his actions, words, and even his obsession with the number 7. Joe’s hypocrisy underscores his lack of self-awareness and his inability to see himself for who he truly is.
Joe Starks’ Isolation
Joe Starks, the main character in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” symbolizes the isolation that comes from striving for individual success at the expense of others.
- Joe’s obsession with power and control isolates him from the rest of the community.
- His desire to be seen as a self-made man causes him to push away his wife, Janie.
- Joe’s refusal to accept help from others further isolates him from the community.
One of the most significant examples of Joe Starks’ isolation is his preoccupation with the number eight. Joe sees the number eight as a symbol of power and uses it as a way to isolate himself from others
|Examples of Joe Starks’ obsession with the number eight:|
|He builds an impressively large house with eight rooms, symbolizing his wealth and power.|
|He names his store “The Big Eight” as a way to intimidate potential competitors.|
|He demands that the town council be made up of eight members, further solidifying his power.|
Joe’s obsession with the number eight is a clear symbol of his isolation. Instead of using his power and wealth to build relationships with others in the community, he isolates himself by creating a power structure that revolves around himself.
Joe Starks’ Hubris
Joe Starks, a character in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” is widely known for his arrogance and excessive pride. His hubris, or overconfidence, leads to his downfall as a character. It is important to examine what Joe Starks symbolizes in the context of his hubris.
- Joe Starks symbolizes unchecked ambition and the dangers of overconfidence. His relentless pursuit of power and status blinds him to the needs and desires of those around him, ultimately leading to his downfall.
- Joe’s hubris also symbolizes the corrupting influence of power. As he ascends to a position of authority in Eatonville, he becomes more and more tyrannical, using his power to control and manipulate those below him.
- Additionally, Joe Starks’ hubris represents the masculinization of society and the suppression of femininity. His patriarchal views and treatment of Janie, his wife, reveal a deep-seated misogyny that permeates throughout the novel.
Furthermore, Joe’s hubris is evident in the way he interacts with other characters in the novel. He belittles those he deems inferior, such as Tea Cake, and dismisses the concerns of others who do not align with his own views. His hubris is also present in his incessant need for control, particularly over Janie.
|Examples of Joe Starks’ Hubris in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”|
|Joe’s decision to rename Eatonville after himself, despite objections from the townspeople|
|His insistence on Janie conforming to his expectations of a “proper” wife, including her appearance and behavior|
|Joe’s refusal to allow residents to participate in politics or government unless he personally approved of their qualifications, showing a lack of trust in those around him|
Overall, Joe Starks’ hubris in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a cautionary tale of the dangers of excessive pride and the corrupting influence of power. By examining the ways in which Joe’s hubris manifests throughout the novel, we can gain a deeper understanding of the themes and symbols present in Hurston’s work.
Joe Starks’ Tragic Flaw
As mentioned earlier, Joe Starks is often viewed as an important symbol in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Throughout the novel, it becomes evident that Joe desires power and status above all else. However, this particular desire eventually becomes his undoing, revealing his tragic flaw.
- Joe’s need for power: Joe is often seen seeking power and attempting to manipulate those around him. He uses his position as mayor to control the town and his wife, Janie. This need for power ultimately leads to his downfall.
- Lack of respect for others: Joe’s obsession with status and power blinds him to the needs and desires of those around him. He often belittles and silences others, including Janie, leading to feelings of resentment and bitterness.
- Hubris: Joe’s pride in his position as mayor blinds him to his own weaknesses and flaws. This ultimately leads to his downfall and death.
Despite being a successful businessman and entering politics, Joe Starks’ tragic flaw ultimately becomes his downfall. His desire for power and status leads to him alienating those around him and ultimately losing any true connection with others.
|Joe’s Horizons||Joe names the town “Eatonville” to establish it as a source of wealth and power. This symbolizes his desire for success and status.|
|The Store||Joe’s store symbolizes his economic power and commercial success. It becomes a symbol of his desire for power and control.|
|The Mule||Joe’s mistreatment of the mule represents his disregard for those weaker than him. This parallels his treatment of Janie and other characters in the novel.|
Overall, Joe Starks’ tragic flaw serves as a reminder of the consequences that come with a desire for power and control. It reveals the dangers of becoming blinded by pride and a thirst for status, ultimately leading to alienation and downfall.
What Does Joe Starks Symbolize? FAQs
1. Who is Joe Starks in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’?
Joe Starks is a character in Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’. He is a self-made man who becomes Janie’s second husband.
2. What does Joe Starks symbolize in the novel?
Joe Starks symbolizes the quest for power and control. He is determined to become a leader and a ruler of his own town, which he establishes later in the book.
3. What is Joe Starks’ role in the novel?
Joe Starks plays an important role in Janie’s life. He is her second husband, and through him, she gains financial and social stability. However, his desire for power and control often leads to their marital conflicts.
4. What are some of Joe Starks’ traits?
Joe Starks is ambitious, confident, and charming. He is a natural leader who knows how to gain people’s respect and admiration. However, he is also incredibly stubborn and domineering, which causes problems in his relationships.
5. How does Joe Starks’ character develop in the novel?
Joe Starks starts off as a likable and charismatic character, but as the novel progresses, his flaws become more apparent. He becomes more controlling and abusive towards Janie, and his desire for power ultimately leads to his downfall.
6. What is the significance of Joe Starks’ death in the novel?
Joe Starks’ death marks the end of an era in the novel. It signifies the end of his reign as the ruler of Eatonville, and the beginning of a new phase in Janie’s life.
7. What is the message behind Joe Starks’ character in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’?
Joe Starks’ character in the novel portrays the dangers of ambition and the desire for power. His actions and behaviors towards Janie serve as a warning against the consequences of too much control and domination.
Closing Title: Thanks for Taking a Deeper Look into Joe Starks’ Symbolism!
We hope that these FAQs have given you a better understanding of Joe Starks’ character and symbolism in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’. Joe Starks’ significance in the novel lies in his portrayal of ambition, control, and power, as well as the dangers that come with these qualities. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again soon!