Jody aging in the eyes of Janie

“One day she noticed that Joe didn’t sit down. He just stood in front of a chair and fell in it. That made her look at him all over. Joe wasn’t so young as he used to be. There was already something dead about him. He didn’t rear back in his knees any longer. He squatted over his ankles when he walked. His…belly that used to thrust out so pugnaciously and intimidate folks, sagged like a load suspended from his loins. It didn’t seem to be part of him anymore.”

Hurston, Zora. Their Eyes Were Watching God. (120)

This passage describes Jody’s decaying manner as he ages. The text structures Jody’s aging through Janie’s eyes. This is apparent through free indirect discourse, “It didn’t seem to be part of him anymore”. Hurston describes Joe becoming older through him losing his power. This is evident when referencing his belly that was once “pugnacious” which would intimidate folks that have now “sagged”.  While Jody ages he loses a spark, causing him to be described as “dead”. The qualities that have changed are not a part of Joe to Janie, instead, they represent a weaker man who is perceived as dying.