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Chapter 1 introduces a number of motifs that recur throughout the novel including the horizon, porches, and hair. In this chapter, ships on the horizon represent dreams that are unattainable. Porches are the usual place for community assembly, and are also the only place where people can truly feel human: all day the people feel like "mules and brutes have occupied their skins." But only on the porches, at the end of the day, do their skins feel "powerful and human." The porch is also the setting of Janie's revelations to Phoebe. Janie's hair is a powerful symbol of her individuality and sexuality. It is thick, and healthy: "the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume."