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Nanny—Janie’s grandmother Nanny figures powerfully into the first quarter of the novel. Nanny has only one concern and that is to see Janie married to Logan Killicks, who is a matter-of-fact, practical and responsible man. Nanny’s dream of security is based on her history in the South. Raised in slavery of the establishment, she was taught to fear the unknown. Her own daughter ran off and left her baby in the care of its grandmother, and Nanny does not want to see a second child run off into the unknown. Her care for Janie is based on this fear.

Thus, when Janie shows that she is old enough to attract men, Nanny decides that Janie must be married off to a man who is mature. The problem with Logan Killicks is that he is much older than Janie and is not sensitive to her own particular identity and dream of love. Nanny tells Janie that love will ultimately come and that she must not mind about it so much nor worry that it does not seem near. But Janie cannot put up with Logan much longer. When Joe Starks arrives and begins to woo Janie, Janie departs and leaves Logan and Nanny’s philosophy behind. But, of course, she is no closer to making the dream reality. That does not happen until Janie suffers twenty long years of marriage to Joe Starks. Only with Joe’s death is Janie finally able to bury Nanny too.

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