The Postmaster: The Narrator’s Relation to Ratan (Where Understanding and Pity Meet)

“She entered noiselessly, and looked silently into her master’s face for orders. The master said: ‘You need not be anxious about my going away, Ratan; I shall tell my successor to look after you.’ These words were kindly meant, no doubt: but inscrutable are the ways of a woman’s heart!”

Tagore, Rabindranath. The Postmaster. Macmillan, 1918, page 167.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“What she doin coming back here in dem overhalls? Can’t she find no dress to put on? – Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in? – Where all dat money her husband took and died and left her? – What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? – Where she left dat young lad of a boy she went off here wid? – Thought she was going to marry? – Where he left her? – What he done wid all her money? – Betcha he off wid some gal so young she ain’t even got no hairs – Why she don’t stay in her class?”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006, page 2.

The Eatonville residents are clearly jealous of Janie and so they point out everything that’s different about her or doesn’t align with the way people from her class should look and behave.