Peacefully Ever After

Accomplish: to succeed in completing; fulfill, perform, or carry out (an undertaking, plan, promise, etc.) Throughout Janie\'s life she accomplished many things, but what I\'d like to focus on is what I believe her chief accomplishment was: Peace. Janie achieved peace through a long and trial-filled life which consisted of three husbands who were of varying personalities. In this essay I will discuss Janie\'s life relating to each of these husbands, and how Janie grew to achieve peace in the long run.
Janie\'s grandmother was one of the most important influences in her life, raising her from an infant and passing on her dreams to Janie. Janie\'s mother ran away from home soon after Janie was born. With her father also gone, the task of raising Janie fell to her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny tells Janie, "Fact uh de matter, Ah loves yuh a whole heap more\'n Ah do yo\' mama, de one Ah did birth" (p.31). Nanny\'s dream is for Janie to attain a position of security in society, "high ground" as she puts it. As the person who raised her, Nanny feels that it is both her right and obligation to impose her dreams and her ideas of what is important in life on Janie. The conflict between Janie\'s sacred view of marriage and Nanny\'s wish for her to marry for stability and position is a good illustration of just how deep the respect and trust runs. Janie has a very romantic notion of what marriage should be. "She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace . . . so this was a marriage," is how the narrator describes it (p.24). Nanny\'s idea of a good husband is someone who has some standing in the community, someone who will get Janie to that "higher ground." Nanny wants Janie to marry Logan Killicks, but according to Janie "he look like some ole skull-head in de grave yard" (p.28). Even more important to Janie, though, was the fact that "the vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree" (p.28). Nanny tells Janie "So you don\'t want to marry off decent like . . . you wants to make me suck the same sorrow yo\' mama did, eh? Mah ole head ain\'t gray enough. My back ain\'t bowed enough to suit you!" (p.28). After the fight over Logan Killicks, Nanny again, tries to explain to Janie why she needs to marry up the social ladder. This conversation reveals a good deal about the reality of being a black woman. She says "De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see" (p.29). Janie, out of respect for her grandmother, went off to start her role as a wife. For the most part, Janie\'s experiences as a wife are typical of what many women go through, at least in terms of the roles into which they are cast. In contrast to the role of the mother, which is one of giving and nurturing, the role of wife is characterized by giving up one\'s self in the marriage. Janie, although she tries, cannot make herself love Logan Killicks. "She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie\'s first dream was dead, so she became a woman" (p.44). This point is important because it, more than even the marriage ceremony, marks Janie\'s transition from Nanny\'s child to a woman, not only in the biological and social sense, but also in the sense that Nanny is talking about when she says that the black woman is the "mule of de world . . ." (p.29). It is not long before the newness of marriage wears off for Logan and he introduces Janie to the physical bondage that is expected of a wife. Logan tells Janie "I aims to run two plows, and dis man Ah\'m talkin \'bout is got a mule all gentled up so even uh woman kin handle \'im" (p.46). There is little doubt why Logan would need a mule so gentle even a woman could handle it. As Logan realizes more and more that Janie is not happy with him, he tries to force her