Keywords: joe starks, joe starks description, joe starks character
The character of Joe Starks in the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" written by Zora Neil Hurston is Janie's second husband and an entrepreneur who is very charismatic and well off financially. However, Starks is a little overzealous in his ambition. There isn't any lot of communication between him and Janie, or anyone else for example, and he has a huge a superiority complex, which contributes to an uncontrollable jealousy over his most prize possession, Janie. Starks has envisioned himself as a "big" man in the novel. During the course of the storyplot, Starks, in the beginning, sometimes appears as a charming man, with a huge dream and good intentions, ends up becoming the most effective man around, who's somewhat disliked because of spending practices and actions. Starks is somewhat seen as an imitator of the "white man on top" and the people of Eatonville resent him for it.
When Starks is first mentioned in the novel, Starks a well dressed man, not usually observed in the parts Janie was from, he was dressed nice and looking best for the planet to see, Janie sees Starks coming down the road. He wasn't just another passerby, he sees Janie, this beautiful girl on the highway and he heads right for her, she's the main one that's what he wants (Hurston 27). The type Joe Starks is an example of a guy who knows what he wants in life, though he seems kind, and generous in nature, it is all a faade. Starks is a selfish person, playing a role of your "big" man who sees himself above others. Through his strong sense of confidence, charismatic personality, and his financial background, Starks can gain the power and influence that he seeks within the town of Eatonville. He uses Janie his wife, as symbolic of personal success. She in his eyes is more of the trophy than someone he loves. Mr. Starks shallowly believes that with all his money and power should he be eligible for a lovely wife.
From the moment that Starks meets Janie, he promises her the entire world. He guarantees all sorts of nice and exotic of things to her, not because he genuinely likes the lady, but because Starks sees something that he would like to have, and for him to get it, he has to promise the globe to use Janie from Logan Killicks, to whom she was currently married. There wasn't really a distinction between the two men, well besides physical appearance and age. These were two men wanting the same thing. The usage of Janie as a way to progress in life, for Killicks, it was to work the land, to make it more valuable in the promise to carefully turn it over to Janie. To Starks she would be considered a symbol of his success and power. "Their Eyes is a lyrical novel that correlates the necessity of her first two husbands for ownership of progressively larger physical space (and the gaudy accoutrements of upward mobility)" (Gates 197).
Starks eventually succeeds in taking Janie away from Logan. "From then on she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair" (Hurston 32). In leaving with Mr. Starks, Janie assumes a role in a higher class, one of the people who sit in a "high, ruling chair. " Exactly the same people whom Starks wishes or believes himself to maintain. With running off and marrying Starks, Janie has moved up a notch in social standing. It was not because of her education or talents, but because she's beautiful and that is just what Starks wanted, a trophy.
Starks does what he promised to do with Janie, which is buy her each one of these nice things and introduce her to a life of riches and luxury. "On the train the next day, Joe didn't make many speeches with rhymes to her, but he bought her the best things the butcher had, like apples and a glass lantern filled with candies. Mostly he talked about plans for the town when he got thereJanie took a lot of looks at him and she was proud of what she saw. Kind of portly like rich white folks. Strange trains, and folks and places didn't scare him neither" (Hurston 34). Mr. Starks reveals his intentions or feelings that he already is in an increased class by flaunting his wealth. He buys Janie different varieties of things like fancy clothes and treats like "apples and a glass lantern packed with candies. " Buying Janie each one of these fancy things is his way of trying to endear himself to her, as well as revealing the sort of social class that he comes from. By buying his way into Janie's life, Starks sees to believe that rhymes and speeches are a poor man's way of romancing the woman. But through money and gifts as a form of romance, would be more of an increased class thing to do.
Starks comes to Eatonville as a type of vivid dreamer, he has big plans because of this little town of shacks and dirt. He brings his money, charisma, and a beautiful young bride to a developing town. The town starts off tiny, too small for the town Starks had envisioned. No one really has thought about adding acreage to the city, or let alone about expanding. So here goes Mr. Joe Starks, the self-believed savior of the fledgling little burg. He guarantees the towns people a better place to live. So Starks, being the "big" man he envisions himself to be, goes right up to the white landowner and comes back with a deed to for the 200 acres the city needed. Using the first task of Starks agenda finished, he gets everyone to go to work. "So that's where the meeting happened with Tony Taylor acting as chairman and Jody doing all the talking. Each day was named for roads and they all agreed to bring axes and things such as that and chop out two roads running each way. That put on every person except Tony and Coker. They could carpenter, so Jody hired them to visit work on his store bright and soon the next morning. Jody himself would be busy driving around from town to town telling people about Eatonville and drumming up citizens to go there" (Hurston 40-1). Mr. Starks is the one who initiates the new building projects and construction of roads, recruiting people to work for him, and giving himself the position of an spokesperson. After all, he was the one who bought all the land and the one with the program itself. Who would argue with the person who come to Eatonville and change it for the better? Having attracted all the interest of the town's people, Joe calls a town meeting and gets himself elected as the mayor of Eatonville. Starks strong sense of self-confidence, execution of his arrange for the city, and money, lead to control, and a sense dominance and power over the city.
Starks showcases his new wealth and power in a solid resemblance of wealthy southern white man. Use the layout of the town for example. Starks's house sits almost in the center of town, around his house sit in the rest of the folks of the towns homes, but is far less as nice. "Take for instance that new house of his. It had two stories with porches, with banisters and such things. The rest of the town looked like servants' quarters surrounding the "big house. "" (Hurston 47). Starks spends his money on extravagant stuff like fancy spittoons for himself and even his wife. This type of free spending makes the citizens of Eatonville jealous and resent him for it. Before Starks moved into Eatonville, individuals had never even considered or had grounds to think about themselves in a different way, or even while low class, because these were all the same. The folks of Eatonville before Starks came were all the same race and poor. Starks brought social dissimilarities and a type of class warfare to town, and now everyone else can easily see what they're passing up on. "It type of made the rest of them believe that that they had been taken advantage of. Like things had been kept from them. Maybe more things in the world besides spitting pots have been hid from them, when they wasn't told no much better than to spit in tomato cans It had been bad enough for white people, however when one of your color could be so different it put you on a wonder. It was like seeing your sister become a 'gator. A familiar strangeness. You retain seeing your sister in the 'gator and the 'gator in your sister and you'd rather not. There was no doubt that the town respected him and even admired him in ways. But any man who walks in the form of power and property will meet hate" (Hurston 47).
Starks very existence entails this high sense of esteem that his manhood brings. He has formed this feeling of entitlement because of what he brings to the table. He feels that with what he did to the city he has the right to power, wealth, and authority. Starks considers himself justified because he was the one basically in charge of building up the city that only he should be the someone to run it. He gets to decide what goes on there and whose judgment counts. He runs the town with somewhat of a first of tyranny and the folks of Eatonville are often grumbling and comparing him to memories of the old white slave owners and rightfully so. Starks resembles the "white man at the top" in lots of ways. He's well-fed appearance, dressed up in the finest clothes, like the well-to-do white people at the time. He believes himself to be above the townspeople, they are lower than him. Even in the case of his wife Janie. He did not marry her for love. It had been all for show. In his marriage to Janie represented his control of folks, the city, as the mayor, and the most of the money around. The only real love expressed by Starks, was the love for Joe Starks. He was the "big" man around town, everything else in his mind's eye, was just symbol in the testament of greatness that is Joe Starks.