Their Eyes Were Watching God Study Questions

Chapter 1 Chapter 1
1. When was Their Eyes Were Watching God published? 1937
2. What was significant about this time? Harlem Renaissance influenced her, Racism
3. Zora uses the small black town where she was born as the setting for her novels. Where is the town located? Eatonville, Florida
4. Who arranges Janie’s marriage to whom and why? her grandmother, she wants protection for Janie
5. Does Janie love Logan Killicks? NO!
6. When the people in town talked negatively of Janie, what did she do? ignored them, walked right passed them
7. Who is Phoeby Watson? Janie’s best friend
8. What metaphor does Janie use to describe the experience of being out in the world? “A great tree in with things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone” (pg. 8)
9.When the story opens is Tea-Cake still around? No, he died
Chapter 2 Chapter 2
1. Who raised Janie? her grandmother
2. Why was Janie called alphabet? people called her by many different names
3. Why did Nanny slap Janie? She was pouting because she didn’t want to marry Logan
4. What did Nanny say about Negro women? they are the mule of the world
5. Whom did Nanny want Janie to marry? Logan Killicks
6. What did Nanny do with her baby? Ran away because it was a white baby. She raised it with the help of her mom . At age 17, Leafy was raped by her school teacher. Leafy ran off leaving Nanny to raise Janie.
Chapter 3 & 4 Chapter 3 & 4
1. Describe the marriage dinner of Janie and Logan Killicks. they have a lavish dinner with all kinds of food, cakes
2. When Janie wants to wonder and think about love, where does she go? the pear tree
3. Describe the way Janie criticized Logan Killicks. how ugly he is, he doesn’t speak beautifully to her, she feels no connection, dirty feet, big belly, not meant to be loved
4. What happened to Nanny? she dies a month later
5. What metaphor did Janie use to describe the world? a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether
6. Describe Joe Starks when Janie first saw him. citified, stylish; he’s black but acts white; he seems sophisticated; he works hard; handsome
7. What did Joe Starks speak for? change and chance
8. What does Janie do when she becomes fed up with Logan Killicks? she runs away to be with Joe Starks
Chapter 5 Chapter 5
1. What does Joe Starks plan to do in Eatonville? put up a post office and store
2. What does Hicks think about Joe Starks building a post-office and a store? it irritated him, but he realized it was a good idea, and Joe quickly earns back all the money invested by people to build the store
3. What was one of the first conflicts Janie had with Joe? told people that her place was in the home
4. What took the bloom off of Janie and Joe’s marriage? he spoke for her and didn’t give her a chance to say anything
5. What did the townsfolks do at the barbecue? first lamp lighting, told stories, sang songs
6. What were the folks celebrating? first lamp lighting
7. Why didn’t Janie like being Mrs. Mayor? they were apart a lot and were losing intimacy
8. What did Joe Starks become in town? the mayor of Eatonville (west Maitland) = like their ruler = no one disobeyed or disagreed with him
9. What did Joe Starks do to Henry Pitts and why? kicked him out of town because he stole a wagon load of ribbon cane
Chapter 6 Chapter 6
1. What was the main topic of conversation on the porch of the store? Matt Bonner’s mule, it was skinny, the men were giving him a hard time about it
2. Why didn’t Joe want Janie to talk with the people? they were trashy and she was above that
3. Why didn’t Janie enjoy working in the store? she didn’t like work or responsibility
4. Do you think Mayor Starks should have pressured Matt into selling the mule for $5.00? Sure, it was finally respected and taken care of
5. Describe Mrs. Bogle. classy; had an air about her; was married twice; able to move men
6. What happened to the spirit of Joe Starks and Janie’s marriage? left the bedroom the more that Joe tried to get her to be submissive
7. Why did Joe slap Janie? she prepared a bad meal
Chapter 7 Chapter 7
1. Why is Janie feeling so stultified and unfulfilled at the opening of the chapter? she was in a rut; she felt beat down; she lost her individuality
2. What changes have overtaken Joe? Janie realizes he has become old, and has become more abusive than ever
3. Is Janie sympathetic to Joe’s feelings? Explain. not really she keeps quiet biding her time for him to die
4. Where does the omniscient narrator come in and what does it explain? Joe gets sicker; Janie defended herself but it hurt Joe’s manhood and no one would ever look at him the same (pg. 78-80)
5. Why did Joe Starks strike Janie? Janie spoke back to him
Chapter 8 Chapter 8
1. What did Jody do after he felt that Janie had insulted him? moved his things and slept downstairs
2. Do you think Jody was justified in being angry with Janie? a little but he did the same to her
3. What was one of the symptoms of Jody’s illness? he didn’t eat his meals
4. What is the cause of Joe’s illness? kidney failure
5. How does Janie describe death? “Death, that strange being with the huge square toes who lived way in the west. The great ore who lived in the straight house like a platform without sides to it.”
6. Why was Janie disturbed with living with Jody? he wouldn’t allow her to be the she wanted to be
7. What happened to Jody? he died
8. How did Janie feel about Jody and what did she say after he died? sad, pity and she thinks about all the time that passed since she met him; that sitting on his “ruling chair” had been hard on him
Chapter 9 Chapter 9
1. Describe Joe’s funeral. very fine, fancy cars, important people, and a band played at the church
2. Explain the following expression: “She sent her face to Joe’s funeral, and herself went rollicking with the springtime across the world.” outwardly she appeared mournful; inside she rejoices, she gained her independence, she if finally free of the heavily restricted life that Joe forced her into, she burned her head rags
3. What did Janie say she felt about her grandmother? Janie hated her; her grandmother crushed her spirit
4. What does the following expression mean: “Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.” the sky has no limit
5. Why didn’t Janie enjoy working in the store and collecting rents after Joe died?
Chapter 10 Chapter 10
1. After many people go to Winter Park to see the game, who visits Janie in the store?
2. What was your first impression of Tea Cake? tries to flatter her, seems to an ulterior motive
Chapter 11 Chapter 11
1. Describe the way Tea Cake came to visit Janie the second time. he was pretending to play the guitar, played checkers and went fishing
2. Why didn’t Hezekiah want Janie going around with Tea Cake?
3. How did Janie describe Tea Cake? a glance from God
4. How did Tea Cake visit Janie of the fourth day after not seeing her for three days? ea
5. How does Tea Cake feel about Janie? No one can hold a candle to you. You got the keys to the kingdom, he said.

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