Their eyes were watching God Quote

“She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Context: At the end of the novel Janie is reflecting upon her life Significance: trying to find happiness through the love and affection of significant other. Every since the scene with the pear tree, Janie has been indecisive about what her future would be. Janie looks back at her younger self and realizes that a man does not bring you happiness; it is down by your own accord
“What she doin coming back here in dem overhalls? Can’t she find no dress to put on?” Speaker: Gossip Girls Spoken to:Context: Janie returns to her hometown from the Everglades. Significance: The gossipers’ comments make it plain that they envy Janie’s good looks that allow her to dress in overalls and let her hair loose and still look attractive. Instead of making Janie look bad, their envy makes them look like a pack of insecure women.
“Oh to be a pear tree—any tree in the bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the word! Speaker: Janie Spoken to: Audience Context: Janie is sitting under a pear tree thinking about life. Significance: Janie’s initiation into the sexual world via her experience under the pear tree makes her yearn for her own sexual realization, her own true love. She compares herself to the pear tree, having “glossy leaves and bursting buds” and seeking her own “singing bees.” For Janie, on the brink of womanhood, she expects love and sexuality to come hand in hand.
“For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never leading until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Audience Context: Janie comes back home and realizes that Significance: According to Hurston, men are more practical than women; they know that their dreams are unattainable, as illustrated by the distant ships. Women close that metaphorical distance by failing to distinguish between dream and reality. Their dreams are their reality and thus, they live far more idealistic lives.
“De ****** woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin’ fuh it tuh be different wid you.” Speaker: Nanny Spoken to: JanieContext: Nanny is talking about Janie’s marriage with Logan and be a housewife. Significance: In a black marriage, a black women is worse than a mule. The black man listens to the white man while the black women listens to the black man. Nanny doesn’t want Janie to live the same type of life that she did. She wants her to marry a man who will support and protect her.
“Us talks about de white man keepin’ us down! Shucks! He don’t have tuh. Us keeps our own selves down.” Speaker: CokerSpoken to: People in EatonvilleContext: Coker makes the observation that it is not simply white people that put down black men.Significance: Joe is acting like the whiteman when he runs the village in Eatonville. Even though he is the same race he treats the citizens poorly. Coker believes that black people put themselves down, always gossiping about and envying one another and trying to limit each other’s success out of jealousy.
“Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ’bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home.” Speaker: Joe Spoken to: Towns peopleContext: The towns people want to hear Janie make a speech. Joe wouldn’t allow her to speakSignificance: This demonstrates the position that black women have in society. This talks about how women are being oppressed. Women are obligated to do what their husbands tell them. Women are expected to stay home without having the opportunity to express themselves. Joe jealousy guards Janie and wants her all to himself because he fears losing her.
“…None had the temerity to challenge him. They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.” Speaker: Janie Spoken to: aaaaaahhhContext: Talking about the authority that Joe has over the public Significance: Like a tyrant he manipulates the community into doing his bidding and sets himself up over them, who are too timid to challenge his authority. The towns people listened to Joe because they felt as if he was a leader and capable of controlling the town. It was only due to the fact that people gave him the authority in the first place.
“Freein’ dat mule makes uh mighty big man outa you. Something like George Washington and Lincoln.” Speaker: Janie Spoken to: Joe Context: Joe bought the mule from Sam. Significance: It shows a degree of generosity rarely found in powerful men. But Joe’s display is just that – all show; he frees the mule to garner public admiration, not because he loves the animal.
“Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves.” Speaker: JoeSpoken to: Janie or general Context:Significance: Joe considers women to be on the same intellectual level as children and domesticated animals. He imposes this view on Janie, never considering how it feels to be a woman.
“She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be…She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Audience Context:Significance: The significance of this moment lies not just in Janie’s recognition of the division between inside and outside but also in the ability to turn her back on the image and “look further.” No longer content with surface vision, Janie is learning to “look further,” a necessary precondition for finding an expressive voice
“The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had take her place. She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was there. She took careful stock of herself, then combed her hair and tied it back up again.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Audience Context: Joe died recently and she feels as though a weight has been lifted off her chest Significance: Jody to her was a hinderence that started out seeming as if it was going to work out for the good but in the end didn’t. Though in a way her relationship with Jody gave her the courage to stand up for herself. What I found interesting though is how she felt remorse and pity after Jody died realizing the tough life he must have had. She now has a new life where she can pursue stuff that she never would have been able to do without her marriage to Jody.
“But Janie, Tea Cake, whilst he ain’t no jail-bird, he ain’t got uh dime tuh cry.” Speaker: PhoebeSpoken to: Janie Context: Phoebe thinks that Tea Cake is after her money because he barely has any. Significance: No one approves of their marriage because of their age difference.
“He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Audience Context: Janie witnesses Tea Cake falls asleep trying to explain the reason he stole her moneySignificance: Janie discovers that she is able to truly express herself when she is with Tea cake because he is one of the few people who encourage her to be herself.
“That was why she sought out Janie to friend with. Janie’s coffee-and-cream complexion and her luxurious hair made Mrs. Turner forgive her for wearing overhalls like the other women who worked in the fields.” Speaker:NarratorSpoken to: Context: This was when Jaine first meets Mrs. Turner and disapproves of Tea Cake. Significance: Ironically, Mrs. Turner’s ugliest features become a source of pride for her because they differentiate her form the common black woman and mark her as partially white-blooded
“They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if he meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to:Context: A hurricane was destroying the EvergladesSignificance: God is seen as the last resort in protecting Janie and Tea Cake. The characters here realize that their free will (their desire to remain in the Everglades despite the hurricane) can’t stand against God’s will (the hurricane).
“Look at they hair,when you cain’t tell no other way. And don’t lemme ketch none uh y’all dumpin’ white folks, and don’t be wastin’ no boxes on colored.” Speaker: White grave diggerSpoken to:Context: digging graves for the dead Significance: Shows the racism of the time, the white people were allowed to be put in caskets and receive proper burials, getting higher treatment over blacks.
“She wished she had slipped off that cow-tail and drowned then and there and been done. But to kill her through Tea Cake was too much to bear. Tea Cake, the son of the Evening Sun, had to die for loving her.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to: Context: Tea Cakes is dying from rabies Significance: She couldnt bear to see Joe dying from his disease, she would have rather wished to die when she was in the river. Since Tea Cake was dying she was loosing the reason to live.
“God made it so you spend yo’ ole age first wid somebody else, and saved up yo’ young girl days to spend wid me.” Speaker: Tea CakesSpoken to: JanineContext: Tea Cakes is sick from rabiesSignificance: Janie speant her prime years with Logan and Joe so she was old and bitter. When she was with Tea Cake, she was young and lively.
“Then the band played, and Tea Cake rode like a Pharaoh to his tomb. No expensive veils and robes for Janie this time. She went on in her overalls. She was too busy feeling grief to dress like grief.” Speaker: Narrator Spoken to:Context: During Tea Cake burial, Joe is in his casket and Janie is escorting his body to his tombSignificance: She was busy grieving over his death, she didn’t have the time to dress up for the occasion. This is in contrast to Logan’s death, where she dressed up, showing she had no grief fro his death.
“Oh to be a pear tree—any tree in the bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the word! Speaker: JanieSpoken to: General Context: She is under the pear tree and watching the bees pollinating.Significance: She is maturing and wants to experience and fall in love with someone. The bees represent the sexual connotation behind love and she wants to experience that was well. For Janie, on the brink of womanhood, she expects love and sexuality to come hand in hand.

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