Their Eyes Were Watching God

what purpose do the porch stories of chapter five and six have

stories such as the mule and others shared

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There are a few things at play here. Janie enjoys the stories and folktales that she hears on the porch. These stories begin to give Janie a sense of identity that she feels is fading with Jody. There is a sense of mythology in them which transcends money, work and social stature. The imbalance of power begins to manifest in this chapter. As Jody tries to exert control, Janie tries to free herself. One day, Matt Bonner’s mule runs away and is found outside the store. Some of the men irritate the mule which makes Janie sad. Jody sees this and buys the mule for five dollars. The mule finally gets to live out its life in relative comfort rather than being mistreated. The mule episode shows us that Jody is not a bad man rather than he feels Janie slipping away and is reaching out to her the only way he can.