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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Oak Tree

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What is the most likely reason that this passage falls directly before Janie meets Joe?

When Janie had finished indoors she sat down in the barn with the potatoes. But springtime reached her in there so she moved everything to a place in the yard where she could see the road. The noon sun filtered through the leaves of the fine oak tree where she sat and made lacy patterns on the ground.

A

Trees and nature imagery are often present when Janie has realizations in her life, and the presence of the oak tree in the passage signifies that Janie is about to have a realization.

B

The nature imagery of the quotes sets up a contrast between Janie's bucolic life with Logan and the "cityfied, stylish" visage of Joe.

C

The oak tree is symbolic of Nanny, and this helps Janie remember that Nanny is watching over her and would approve of her choice to move on in life with Joe rather than Logan.

D

The solidness of the oak tree is symbolic of Joe himself and suggests that Joe will be a steadying force in Janie's life, someone who is firmly rooted to his ideals and committed to a relationship with Janie.

E

The transition between her being inside and coming outside is meant to parallel that she is safe and comfortable with Logan, but if she goes off with Joe, she will be exposed to the elements, not safe any longer, but at the whim of Nature.