in chapter 1
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Janie has been gone from Eatonville for a very long time, and it is dusk when she returns. As she walks through the center of town to her old home, all the people of the village stare at her and judge her. The townspeople are cruel and envious. They wonder why she is returning in improper overalls instead of a proper dress and where her husband is.
Janie walks straight through the town and does not let anyone bother her. Janie is a beautiful black woman; the men notice her tight bottom, her beautiful hair and her "pugnacious breasts." The women are envious of her; they hope she might fall to their level some day.