Their Eyes Were Watching God

chapter 6

How is matt bonner being teased and how does he respond?


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Lige Moss, Sam Watson, and Walter love to tease Matt for never feeding the mule and for working the mule too hard. Janie loves listening to the stories about the mule; sometimes she has her own funny comments to make but Joe forbids her from joining the conversation. Janie realizes that Joe loves to order her around. She hates the fact that he forces her to work in the store all day, forces her to tie her hair up, and becomes insanely jealous when other men look at her. One day, Matt Bonner's mule disappears. When the mule finally shows up in the center of town, the men who sit on the porch begin to torture it. First, Lum tackles the mule, then five or six other men begin to torment it. Janie feels bad for the mule; she wants to help it but doesn't want to get in trouble with Joe for speaking out. Joe hears her muttering words of sorrow under her breath and decides to do a noble thing. He pays five dollars for the ownership of the mule so that he can protect it from any further damage. Janie makes a little speech commending Joe for his noble actions and comparing him to Lincoln. The men of the community say that Janie is a brilliant orator. Joe, as usual, says nothing. He would rather that Janie had not spoken at all.

The mule becomes famous as the town's first freed animal, and it wanders about the town getting fat until it dies. There is a funeral for the mule at the swamp outside of town. Janie wants to attend, but Joe forbids her.