• Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston

  • Literature Notes
  • Book Summary
  • About Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Character Analysis
  • Janie Crawford Killicks Starks Woods
  • Logan Killicks
  • Vergible Tea Cake" Woods"
  • Pheoby Watson
  • The Porch Sitters
  • The Migrants
  • Character Map
  • Zora Neale Hurston Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Major Themes of Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Structure of Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Figurative Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Use of Dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Full Glossary for Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Essay Questions
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  • Cite this Literature Note

Summary and Analysis Chapter 1

The porch sitters are spread out on the front porch of Pheoby and Sam Watson's home, happy to be free of the responsibilities of their long day's labor. They are astonished to see a bedraggled and weary-looking Janie Starks trudging into town, then turning her face in their direction. The women see her as a disaster, but the men see her as still possessing physical attraction. Janie speaks, acknowledges them, and goes on, and their indignation is great. How could she have the nerve not to stop and explain why she went off a year and a half ago in a blue satin dress and now she returns in dirty overalls?

Surely her husband — they assume she married the man, the guitar-playing, roving Tea Cake — took her money and probably went off with a younger woman. After all, Tea Cake was nearly ten years younger than Janie. They believe that Janie should have stopped and talked to them. The inherent jealousy of the women is quite apparent.

Janie's friend Pheoby defends her to the porch sitters. Pheoby believes that Janie does not have to share any of her personal business with them. Assuming that Janie is hungry, Pheoby volunteers to take Janie a pot of mulatto rice, and soon she finds her way through the darkness to Janie's back steps. Pheoby's motive is not completely unselfish. She is quietly certain that Janie will talk to her and explain what happened during the past year and a half. Janie welcomes her friend and the gift of food. She informs Pheoby that Tea Cake did not run off with the money that Joe left her. She reveals that the money is safe in the bank, but Tea Cake is dead. After Janie has rested for a while, cleaned and soothed her tired feet, and enjoyed the rice, she tells Pheoby about her months with Tea Cake.

Their Eyes Were Watching God opens with a focus on judgment, a powerful and prevalent theme in the novel. As Janie returns to Eatonville after a lengthy absence, the porch sitters treat her especially harshly when talking about her. They make it their business to criticize her past actions and her present appearance, while ultimately judging her. This theme of judgment will continue throughout the novel, as Janie will be judged by her husbands and others.

Thus, the character of Janie Mae Crawford Killicks Starks Woods, the novel's 40-year-old heroine, is introduced as she endures the judgments of the porch sitters. Readers will come to know Janie as a strong, independent, free-spirited woman who strives to define herself, rather than allow others to determine who she is. In the novel, Janie encounters many people who attempt to define her by her beauty or by her relationships with others, just as the porch sitters do in the first chapter.

Besides Janie, Pheoby Watson is introduced as Janie's loyal confidante and best friend. In this chapter, Pheoby, who is genuine and kind, contrasts with the porch sitters, who are mean and superficial. Pheoby shows true care and concern for her friend as she offers Janie rice as well as a listening ear. While the character of Pheoby is minor in the novel, she represents true friendship for Janie.

The end of the chapter sets the format for the remainder of the novel. Janie tells Pheoby that she cannot tell her about her experiences without relating the events of her life. This first chapter takes place in the present, while the remaining chapters (until the last) are composed of Janie's recollections of her past.

porch sitters hard-working farmers and laborers; men and women who work for someone else — a white boss. Only in the evening do they gain control of their time. Janie's late husband, Joe Starks, seems to be the only man in Eatonville who didn't work for someone else.

dat ole forty year ole 'oman a reference to Janie; the remark, by a woman, about a woman, is made out of spite and envy. Although Janie is 40 years old, she is still an attractive woman, much to the annoyance of the women.

bander log possibly a long log that people sat on while they bantered, joked, and gossiped.

fall to their level The women hope that Janie will someday, somehow, stop having an aura about her. Her charisma reinforces their envy and is proof that they do not think well of themselves.

to study about Mrs. Sumpkins' phrase that means she isn't "thinking about" Janie; ironically, from her remarks, she has evidently spent much time doing just that.

She sits high, but she looks low Lulu Moss suggests that while Janie carries herself in a high-mannered way, her social standing has come down considerably after her relationship with Tea Cake.

booger man the mythical monster who is often called the "boogeyman"; a frightening imaginary being, often used as a threat in disciplining children.

mulatto rice a concoction of cooked rice, chopped and browned onions, crisp bacon bits, and some chopped tomatoes.

lamps and chimneys the reference is to kerosene lamps. Apparently, Janie, a good housekeeper, either left the lamps clean when she went away or took time to clean at least one of them as soon as she returned. Kerosene lamps and their chimneys must be clean in order to function properly.

stove wood Although Janie has the most pretentious house in town, it does not have gas or electricity; she must cook on a wood-burning stove.

Mouth-Almighty someone who talks too much.

An envious heart makes the treacherous ear Pheoby characterizes the gossipy women with this biblical-sounding adage.

a lost ball in de high grass The townspeople love baseball; not only do they like to watch it, but they also like to play it. The field where they play has tall, uncut grass, and fly balls are often lost and the game delayed while both teams search for the ball.

They don't know if life is a mess of corn-meal dumplings and if love is a bed quilt The experiences of the townspeople are so limited that they can't make any valid observations on life and love.

come kiss and be kissed come and talk to me, Janie is saying; it's implied that the townspeople should do more of this in their lives.

The 'ssociation of life . . . De Grand Lodge, de big convention of livin' Janie refers here to the common experience of belonging to fraternal or church organizations and going to their conventions and meetings. Janie wants Pheoby to understand that her experiences in the past eighteen months were as exciting as attending a convention.

hard of understandin' Pheoby will want a detailed explanation to be sure that she understands all that Janie says.

a mink skin . . . a coon hide one thing looks pretty much like something else until both can be studied carefully. No one can understand what Janie's life was like with Tea Cake or with Joe until each is examined carefully.

monstropolous hyperbole invented by Hurston; perhaps an extension of monstrous.

Previous Character List

Next Chapter 2

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By zora neale hurston, their eyes were watching god summary and analysis of chapters 1-4.

Chapter One Summary:

The novel begins with a statement about the differences between the dreams of men and women. Men's dreams are like distant ships. For some men, the ship comes in and the dream is realized very quickly. For other men, the ship sails for a long, long time on the horizon. By the time these dreams finally can be realized, so much time has passed that the dreams are worthless. Women don't wait and watch for their "ship to come in." Some women have dreams and some do not. And for women, the mere possession of the dream is what matters: "The dream is the truth."

Janie has been gone from Eatonville for a very long time, and it is dusk when she returns. As she walks through the center of town to her old home, all the people of the village stare at her and judge her. The townspeople are cruel and envious. They wonder why she is returning in improper overalls instead of a proper dress and where her husband is.

Janie walks straight through the town and does not let anyone bother her. Janie is a beautiful black woman; the men notice her tight bottom, her beautiful hair and her "pugnacious breasts." The women are envious of her; they hope she might fall to their level some day.

The women are angry that she does not stop and explain herself. Only Pheoby Watson , Janie's old best friend, defends Janie's silence saying that maybe her story is not for their ears, or maybe she has nothing to tell. Pheoby leaves the women to take some supper to Janie.

Pheoby finds Janie sitting on the back porch of her home, soaking her tired feet. Janie and Pheoby hear laughter from the women across the street; they talk about the terrible jealousy and pettiness of the women. Pheoby remarks that "an envious heart makes a treacherous ear."

Janie and Pheoby share some laughter and Pheoby says that Janie should hurry up and inform the community about her past to end all the negative gossip about her. But Janie remarks that she doesn't want to waste the time; besides Pheoby can inform them later. Janie says, "Mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf."

Janie begins her tale, which makes up the body of the novel. Janie tells Pheoby that she has nine hundred dollars in the bank. Tea Cake never touched her money, but he has recently died. She lived with him in the Everglades and now she's come back.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel about self-discovery. Janie Starks is a black woman living in Florida sometime during 1920-1935. (The novel was published in 1937.) In this first chapter, she has just returned from a two year journey. This novel is told "backwards" in a sense, because the first chapter begins with Janie's homecoming and only in the following chapters does the reader learn about the events leading to Janie's return.

Hurston relies heavily upon dialect, typical Southern speech which she spells phonetically, in writing this story. The speech of the characters is typical of blacks living in Eatonville, Florida during 1920-1935.

This chapter introduces a number of motifs that recur throughout the novel including the horizon, porches, and hair. In this chapter, ships on the horizon represent dreams that are unattainable. Porches are the usual place for community assembly, and are also the only place where people can truly feel human: all day the people feel like "mules and brutes have occupied their skins." But only on the porches, at the end of the day, do their skins feel "powerful and human." The porch is also the setting of Janie's revelations to Phoebe. Janie's hair is a powerful symbol of her individuality and sexuality. It is thick, and healthy: "the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume."

Chapter Two Summary:

Janie begins telling the story of her life. She never knew her mother or her father, and was raised by her grandmother. Her grandmother worked as a nanny for white children in the Washburn family, and Janie grows up playing with the Washburn children. She calls her grandmother "Nanny" because that is what the other kids call her. Everyone calls Janie "Alphabet" because she goes by so many names. Janie does not know that she is black until a photograph of her is taken with the other children. Until the age of six, she thinks that she is white, and "the same as everyone else." When she goes to school, the other black children are jealous of Janie because she wears the Washburn children's hand-me-downs; these clothes are much nicer than what the other black children wear. Nanny does not like the fact that Janie is picked on by the other black children for living in the white family's backyard, so she asks the Washburns to help her buy some land and create a home of her own.

Janie loves to spend the afternoons lying under a pear tree, staring into the branches. One afternoon, she is mesmerized by the beauty of bees pollinating the pear blossoms. Janie feels intoxicated by the pollen and her newly awakened sexuality. She now sees Johnny Taylor , a boy she previously thought of as "shiftless" as a "glorious being." She walks to the gate and kisses him over the gatepost.

Nanny sees Janie kissing a boy and calls her inside. Nanny is convinced that Janie's kiss has brought her into womanhood. She slaps Janie for her indiscretion, and tells her that she must get married to Logan Killicks . Janie objects, saying that Logan is ugly and old. But Nanny repeats that Janie must get married to someone who will keep her safe and protected. Nanny reiterates that she just wants to protect Janie from the burden of being a black woman. Nanny narrates to Janie the terrible experiences that she has been through. She was a slave when she was younger and remembers the day that the men on her plantation all left to fight in the Civil War. As she lay with her newly born child, Leafy , the master of the plantation came into the house, pulled off the covers, and forced her to have sex with him for the last time before he left for war. After he left, the mistress of the plantation slapped Nanny many times because the baby looked partially white with its blonde hair and gray eyes. The mistress of the plantation knew that the master had been sleeping with Nanny and threatened to whip her until she bled to death and sell the baby into slavery when it was a month old. Nanny ran away from the plantation that night and named the baby Leafy because she hid her in the leafy moss. Luckily the war ended within a few months, and Nanny never had to be a slave again.

Nanny raised her baby (the woman who was to become Janie's mother) in the same place as she raised Janie: at the Washburns' house. She wanted Leafy to grow up and become a school teacher, but after Leafy was raped by her own school teacher at the age of seventeen she became pregnant with Janie. After her daughter was born, Leafy became an alcoholic and then ran away from home. Nanny's negative experiences make her determined to make life easy for her granddaughter. Nanny says, "Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy Janie, Ah'm a cracked plate."

This chapter presents the story of Janie's childhood and of her sexual awakening. An important symbol that emerges in this chapter and continues to appear throughout the novel is the pear tree, which is a metaphor for Janie. It blossoms when Janie blooms, just when Janie has her sexual epiphany. The first sentence of the chapter is very important: "Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches." Janie's sexuality is always regarded by the author as natural.

At this point in the novel, Hurston moves away from third person narrative to free indirect discourse. Their Eyes began in third person, told through the voice of Hurston. From this point on, particularly in the novel's more important moments, the voices of Hurston and Janie merge. Although much of the novel is told in third-person omnicient, certain sentences like "So this was marriage!" (discribing the pollination of the pear tree) allow the reader to hear Janie's thoughts directly.

Another scene that has intense thematic importance is the love scene between Janie and Johnny Taylor. First, it is important to note that Janie feels no affection or interest in Johnny prior to her sexual epiphany under the pear tree. But after she witnesses the beauty of the bees and the blossoms, Janie wonders, "Where are the bees singing for me?" She is able to project her own desires (the desires to find a mate that is worthy of her) on to Johnny Walker. This ability to create a fantasy demonstrates a large difference between Janie and the other women in the story. Whereas the other women accept their condition, Janie has the power to see what she wants to see. She projects her dream into the world, and then transcends reality.

Another important symbol in this chapter is the gate, and the fact that Janie kisses Johnny over the gate post. Gates symbolize beginnings, openings into new worlds or new stages in life. Here, notably, Janie does not open the gate, meaning that she does not actually leave her childhood entirely. Instead, she kisses Johnny over the gatepost; symbolically speaking, she has only left her childhood for a moment and then returned to it.

Chapter Three Summary:

Before marrying Logan, Janie tries to figure out whether marriage will "end the cosmic loneliness of the unmarried." She spends a lot of time under the pear tree trying to understand how marriage might make her feel love. She does not love Logan, but she hopes that love will grow once she is married.

Janie moves into Logan's house and immediately does not like it. She thinks it looks like a "stump in the middle of the woods that no one had ever seen." After three months pass and she still feels no love for Logan, she visits Nanny. Nanny says she should love Logan merely because he has sixty acres of land on the main road. Janie says that the land does not matter. She wants sweet things in her marriage like the beauty of sitting under a pear tree. Janie starts crying and Nanny sternly tells her that her mind will change as time passes. Later that evening, Nanny prays to God saying that she feels sorry for Janie's unhappiness but that she did the best she could. Heavy-hearted, Nanny dies a month later.

Janie waits nine months and when the summer comes again, she stands at the gate and begins "expecting things." Since her decisions thus far have failed her, she looks out of the gate for a new opportunity.

This chapter is the first illustration of how different Janie is from other black women. Janie is miserable in her marriage and Nanny seems puzzled as to why. Logan, Janie's husband, seems ideal because he has sixty acres of land. Nanny's perspective is based on her childhood as a slave. In her experience, owning land is a privilege reserved for whites, so a black man who owns it is immediately worthy of love. But Janie is a sensual women who grew up in nature and learned about sex and love from sitting underneath a pear tree and watching the bees spread pollen. Land is not enough to fulfill her desires and make Janie happy in her marriage. The reader finds further evidence of how Janie is closely connected with nature in the way that she measures time. Janie's consciousness is usually described in natural terms. She waits a year before she decides that she is no longer happy in her marriage, but she measures these months in terms of the seasons: "So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when a the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things." Her closeness with nature helps explain where Janie gained the values that she did not learn from Nanny.

The image of the gate reappears at the end of this chapter. Janie only begins to stand at the gate when she knows that she is irreversibly unhappy in her marriage. The gate again signifies a new beginning, a new experience, or a new adventure. The ending of this chapter heavily foreshadows that Janie's life is about to change again.

Chapter Four Summary:

One morning, Logan wakes up and tells Janie that he is going to Lake City to buy a mule, and expresses his wish for her to do hard labor while he is gone. Janie is not happy about this and says that all she will do is cut potatoes, and Logan calls her spoiled. As soon as her husband leaves, Janie hears whistling outside of the barn. She sees a citified, stylishly dressed man. He is black, but seems to Janie to be acting white. The man's name is Joe Starks . He is from Georgia. He's worked for white people all his life, but heard that there is a new town called Eatonville that is entirely populated by black people. Joe Starks is on his way to become one of the town's leaders.

Joe Starks asks Janie where her parents are. Janie laughs and says that she's married but that her husband is away buying a mule for her to plow. Joe Starks says that that is a terrible way to treat Janie. For two weeks, Joe and Janie meet every day. Joe, nicknamed Jody, asks Janie to leave Logan and marry him. Jody asks Janie to meet him on the road outside her house so that next that they can run away together.

Janie considers the matter. She tells Logan that she has considering leaving him. Logan insults her and they argue over who will move the mule's manure. Janie tells Logan that he hasn't done her any favor by marrying her, and Logan threatens to kill Janie with an axe. Janie considers this statement, then runs out of the gate to run away with Joe Starks. They head to Green Cove Springs and get married before sundown.

There are two minor details in this chapter that mark the turning point of Janie's relationship with Logan. It is significant to Janie that Logan stops talking to her in rhymes, because for Janie, rhymes are linked with love. In addition, she notices that Logan stops looking at her long black hair. Janie's hair is symbolic of who she is and her sexual identity, so the fact that Logan has stopped looking at her hair indicates that he has stopped caring about her at all.

Joe Starks fulfills many of the things that are lacking in Janie's life. He reminds her that she is young and beautiful and appeals to her need to have a friend that is the same age she is. The first thing that they have in common is their love of sugar in water; sweet water is a treat for young children. Furthermore, Joe thinks big. He talks about the horizon whereas Logan Killicks' dreams extend no further than his sixty acres of land. Janie, too, has high hopes. Her relationship with Logan is stifling because he inhibits her need for dreaming big dreams and trying to fulfill them. She explains her dissatisfaction with Logan's shallow dreams when she says, "You don't take nothin' to count but sow-belly and corn bread."

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Nature, in the form of buzzards, is able to articulate Janie's rage, and speak for the mule. The chief buzzard is seems like a religious figure; Hurston refers to him as the Parson. When the Parson asks what killed the mule, the other buzzard's...

What is the difference between men and women, according to the text,

I would say the closest is:

  • Men are often secretly scared and self-doubting, whereas women are bold and brave

What kind of death has Janie witnessed?

Janie sees Joe's death. He died from kidney failure.

Study Guide for Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God study guide contains a biography of Zora Neale Hurston, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary
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Essays for Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

  • The Importance of Dreams
  • Getting in Touch with the Feminine Side
  • Living for Yourself in Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God: Double Consciousness as an Indicator of Growth
  • A Voice of Abandonment

Lesson Plan for Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
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  • Their Eyes Were Watching God Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Introduction
  • Plot synopsis
  • Inspirations and influences

their eyes were watching god summary of each chapter

Their Eyes Were Watching God Introduction

Want more deets? We've also got a complete  Online Course  about  Their Eyes Were Watching God , with three weeks worth of readings and activities to make sure you know your stuff.

Love, hate, murder, gossip, travel, politics, poetry, death, and life—Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God has it all. In fact, there's so much in this novel that you'll find yourself wondering exactly how Hurston packed so much into such a slender text. (The answer? Hurston was a genius. End of story.)

Their Eyes is very much a novel of its time in that it occupies and reflects a specific historical moment (or two or three), but it is also—without being at all contradictory—a novel for all time. How does it pull that off, exactly?

Because it's about people and love and culture and politics and tradition—in short, it's about what it means to be human. And today, it's regarded as a total classic and a lauded part of the American canon.

But like so many other mind-explodingly brilliant novels (*cough Moby Dick *cough), people just didn't warm to it when it first hit the bookstores.

When it came on the scene in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God didn't go over well with a few key bigwig writers of the day—specifically, black male literary critics. Important figures of the Harlem Renaissance , people like author Richard Wright , poet and novelist Ralph Ellison , and professor and critic Alain Locke didn't like the book—at all. Wright especially went after Hurston, comparing the novel, with its focus on the tumultuous love life of a black woman, to a minstrel show put on for white audiences. ( Source )

These guys championed social realism over anything that looked remotely like romance...and were probably being pretty stuffy about the fact that Their Eyes Were Watching God is unabashedly carnal. This novel is hot.

Hurston fell out of favor for the middle of the 20th century, but her work was recovered from literary oblivion by the hard work and tenacity of feminist scholars like Alice Walker in the 1970s. While earlier Harlem Renaissance writers didn't understand Hurston, a new generation of professors, writers, and researchers—many of them black women themselves—admired the novel's portrayal of the black female experience.

their eyes were watching god summary of each chapter

What is Their Eyes Were Watching God About and Why Should I Care?

Love. We love talking about it. We love reading about it. We love watching it unfold. We love pining for it. Consider yourselves very lucky, Shmoopsters, because in reading Their Eyes Were Watching God , you get to meet one of the greatest philosophers of love: Janie Crawford.

Check out this pearl of wisdom:

"Love ain't somethin' lak uh grindstone dat's de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore." (20.7)

We think that quote is about a thousand percent truer than anything you'll find in the Hallmark aisle.

Because sometimes, even in spite of ourselves, we think that love has to fit a certain mold. We look to Hollywood to tell us about love, and we see that true love = one adorkably clumsy woman + one roguish man who's finally met his match. We think that the narrative of love fits a certain timeline—if not exactly " first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage,” then at least "first comes high school graduation, then comes meeting someone cute before the age of 25, then comes a wedding with super-cute flower arrangements."

But a woman like Janie doesn't work within these structures. First of all, Janie has two bad, loveless marriages. (Not to mention the fact that there are zero babies in baby carriages for her.) So, when a much younger, charismatic man shows up, Janie can't really experience true love with him, right? That wouldn't fit the love mold.

Wrong. Janie defies convention, and she proves the cynics wrong. She challenges traditional notions of who should love whom and of how people should love each other. She formulates her own philosophy: love is ever-changing and ever-unpredictable. Love comes in all shapes and forms, and it's different with every person you love.

Forget all your stereotypes, and throw your timelines out the window. Their Eyes Were Watching God teaches that love can strike at any time of life. And when it does, watch out—not only is it as ever-changing as the sea, it's also just as powerful.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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55 pages • 1 hour read

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Chapters 18-20 Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 18 summary.

Janie and Tea Cake were still down on the muck when the Seminoles and the Bahamians headed east despite the fact that the picking season was not complete. Both groups warned Janie and Tea Cake that a hurricane was coming; Tea Cake discounted their warnings, but even the animals began to flee.

Many of Tea Cake’s friends gathered at his house to weather the storm, but when the winds came in, they grew fearful and realized staying behind had been a mistake. Tea Cake and Janie fled the house along with a friend when the winds grew stronger and it became apparent that the dikes and dam works that held back the Okeechobee would break. They barely survived their flight to higher ground; the friend who accompanied them, Motorboat, stayed behind, too tired to keep running. During their flight, Tea Cake killed an aggressive dog that tried to attack Janie. The dog bit Tea Cake on the face. The couple reached Palm Beach, where they spent most of their money to secure a tiny sleeping space. They reaffirmed their love for each other.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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  1. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapters 1-2 Summary & Analysis

    A summary of Chapters 1-2 in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Their Eyes Were Watching God and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

  2. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter Summaries

    Chapter. Summary. Chapter 1. It is early evening in Eatonville, Florida, one day in the early 20th century. As the sun sets, a group of women sit on ... Read More. Chapter 2. Janie begins her narrative by telling Pheoby of her childhood. She explains that she never saw her father or her mother ...

  3. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter Summaries

    Chapter 1: Summary and Analysis. The novel opens on the main character, Janie Crawford, returning to Eatonville, Florida, after she buries her husband, Tea Cake. Her neighbors, unaware of what ...

  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

    Analysis. An unnamed woman returns at sunset to a small town in the American South that was once a place she called home. The townspeople, the woman's former neighbors, are sitting together on Pheoby Watson 's porch and speculate about why the woman might be returning to town by herself -- and why she's now wearing dirty overalls instead of ...

  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God

    The porch sitters are spread out on the front porch of Pheoby and Sam Watson's home, happy to be free of the responsibilities of their long day's labor. They are astonished to see a bedraggled and weary-looking Janie Starks trudging into town, then turning her face in their direction. The women see her as a disaster, but the men see her as ...

  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary

    Chapter 1. Their Eyes Were Watching God focuses on the experiences of Janie Crawford, a beautiful and determined fair-skinned black woman living in the American South. The novel begins when Janie returns to Eatonville, Florida after having left for a significant amount of time. She is met by the judgmental gossiping of Eatonville's townspeople ...

  7. Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary and Study Guide

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to ...

  8. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapters 1-4 Summary and Analysis

    Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary and Analysis of Chapters 1-4. Chapter One Summary: The novel begins with a statement about the differences between the dreams of men and women. Men's dreams are like distant ships. For some men, the ship comes in and the dream is realized very quickly. For other men, the ship sails for a long, long time on ...

  9. Chapters 1-5

    Chapter 1. A woman returns to her native town in a southern American settlement at sunset; the townsfolk observe her with curiosity and wonderment. The woman's old neighbors gather on Pheoby Watson's porch. Since the woman had left town with a young lover, her neighbors wonder why she has returned alone. They remember the woman's ...

  10. Their Eyes Were Watching God Analysis

    By introducing each chapter of Their Eyes Were Watching God with a thematic image, Zora Neale Hurston artistically changes the focus of the novel from an emphasis on Janie Crawford's linear ...

  11. Their Eyes Were Watching God Introduction

    Use our free chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God. It helps middle and high school students understand Zora Neale Hurston's literary masterpiece. ... She challenges traditional notions of who should love whom and of how people should love each other. She formulates her own philosophy: love is ever-changing and ...

  12. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to ...

  13. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

    When Tea Cake leaves on Saturday night to go gamble, Janie finds herself worrying about Tea Cake's gambling habit, but manages to comfort herself, "It was part of him, so it was all right." A disheveled Tea Cake finally returns the following morning with a cut face and a wad of cash. Tea Cake's injury upsets Janie, though her fear is suddenly ...

  14. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

    Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis. Janie feels limited by the repetitive nature of working in the store each day, but is amused by the townspeople's conversations on the porch that she can overhear, even if she is not directly engaged. In particular, the townspeople repeatedly make fun of a fellow Eatonville resident ...

  15. Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary

    Summary. Last Updated June 27, 2023. When the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God opens, the main character, Janie Crawford, returns from burying her husband. Her friend Pheoby visits her shortly ...

  16. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chs. 1-5

    The 'Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 5 summary begins with Janie and Jody arriving in Eatonville to discover that very little has been done to develop the community. Jody gets to work right away.

  17. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

    Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis. Janie is raised by her grandmother Nanny, and never met her mother or father. Janie and Nanny live in the backyard guesthouse of the Washburns, a white couple in the neighborhood. Growing up in such close proximity to a white family, Janie mistakenly thinks that she is white until she ...

  18. Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapters 1-2 Summary & Analysis

    A summary of Chapters 1-2 in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Their Eyes Were Watching God and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

  19. Their Eyes Were Watching God

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to ...

  20. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

    Within a month, Nanny dies. Through her marriage to Logan, Janie's dream of marriage bringing about love or somehow being equivalent to it is proven wrong. As a result, she feels that she has become a woman. After Nanny's death, Janie can think for herself about sex, love, marriage and identity. After realizing that marriage does not bring ...

  21. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

    Summary. Analysis. After Tea Cake and Janie make their first public appearance together at the town picnic, Janie becomes the object of the town's judgmental gossiping. Pheoby 's husband Sam Watson speculates to his wife that Tea Cake must be using Janie for her money and that he is "draggin' de woman away from church," insinuating that Tea ...