How does the book use the mules as a symbol of Janie through out her marriages?
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Mules are the symbol of Janie throughout her marriages because like a mule, she is bought by different men. Mules symbolize that women like Janie are treated badly, and that they are treated little better than animals.
The first mule shows up when janie marries Logan. She thinks she has no choice but to marry him, much like a mule has no choice about who its owner is. She works like a mule and is treated like a pssession.
The symbol of a mule appears again during Janie's marriage to Joe. Once again, her marriage leaves her owned not loved. Emotionally, Joe kicks her like he'd kick a mule. When janie stands up to the abuse her marriage is ruined. She is to be owned and controlled/ no independence During this time a man in town, Matt Bonner, buys a mule that he works to death. Janie protests and so her husband, Joe, buys the mule from Matt. Again, the mule symbolizes Joe's ownership of Janie.
The third use of a mule as symbolism is Hurston's showing how women should be treated better. He doesn't see women as animals that can be bought to do labor.
Their Eyes Were Watching God