In the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Their Eye Were Watching God, Janie had an adolescent view on love until she learns many lessons through her three marriages. She is brought to court, but found innocent by an all white, male jury after delivering a heartfelt testimony about her true love for Tea Cake. The townspeople are cruel and envious. Her closeness with nature helps explain where Janie gained the values that she did not learn from Nanny.

This marriage and Janie's happiness lasted about 18 months — until a powerful hurricane devastated the land, and Tea Cake became a victim of it. 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. The story that Janie tells is about love — how Janie sought love in four relationships.

He talks about the horizon whereas Logan Killicks' dreams extend no further than his sixty acres of land. Despite Janie's initial ambivalence, she is charmed and spends the rest of the evening with Tea Cake. Hurston relies heavily upon dialect, typical Southern speech which she spells phonetically, in writing this story. The women are envious of her; they hope she might fall to their level some day. About Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the muck, they have many friends and host frequent informal parties at their home. A woman in town named Mrs. Turner causes tension in their marriage, too, as she repeatedly tells Janie to leave Tea Cake for her lighter-skinned brother, demonstrating tremendously racist views. 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. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Their Eyes Were Watching God and what it means. Janie's final relationship was with migrant worker Tea Cake, who gave Janie the love that she had always desired. They wonder why she is returning in improper overalls instead of a proper dress and where her husband is. She lived with him in the Everglades and now she's come back. Tea Cake introduced Janie to a new life in the Everglades. The man's name is Joe Starks. Teachers and parents!

Everyone calls Janie "Alphabet" because she goes by so many names. Heavy-hearted, Nanny dies a month later. It blossoms when Janie blooms, just when Janie has her sexual epiphany. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. 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. Nanny's perspective is based on her childhood as a slave. Nanny says, "Have some sympathy fuh me. She wants sweet things in her marriage like the beauty of sitting under a pear tree. There are two minor details in this chapter that mark the turning point of Janie's relationship with Logan. 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. 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. Her grandmother worked as a nanny for white children in the Washburn family, and Janie grows up playing with the Washburn children. And for women, the mere possession of the dream is what matters: "The dream is the truth.". . Thus, the story, which actually spans nearly 40 years of Janie's life, is "framed" by an evening visit between two friends. Jody asks Janie to meet him on the road outside her house so that next that they can run away together. They wonder why she is returning in dirty overalls when she left in bridal satin. He is from Georgia. In her experience, owning land is a privilege reserved for whites, so a black man who owns it is immediately worthy of love. LitCharts Teacher Editions.

During the storm, a rabid dog attacks Tea Cake and infects him with the disease. "Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapters 1-4 Summary and Analysis". The speech of the characters is typical of blacks living in Eatonville, Florida during 1920-1935. One day while Janie is working in Jody's former store, a handsome young man named Tea Cake walks in, flirts with Janie and invites her to play checkers with him. Nanny is convinced that Janie's kiss has brought her into womanhood. Janie is forced to kill Tea Cake in order to save her own life. Analysis: Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel about self-discovery. As soon as her husband leaves, Janie hears whistling outside of the barn. After the flood, Tea Cake is forced to seperate the victims by race before burying them. 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." For some men, the ship comes in and the dream is realized very quickly.

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Janie objects, saying that Logan is ugly and old. As a widow, Janie would sell Joe's crossroads store, close up her comfortable home, and leave with her new husband to share his life as a bean picker in the muck of the Everglades. The first thing that they have in common is their love of sugar in water; sweet water is a treat for young children.

Hurston suggests how absurd racial prejudices are by showing how far they extend. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. She is able to project her own desires (the desires to find a mate that is worthy of her) on to Johnny Walker. But only on the porches, at the end of the day, do their skins feel "powerful and human." Their happy life in the muck comes to an end one day a massive hurricane hits the area. 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 Cake is a criminal and a heretic. Her neighbors are curious to know where she has been and what has happened to her. Pheoby remarks that "an envious heart makes a treacherous ear. Janie and Tea Cake's married life together in the Everglades (or "the muck") is not perfect: he steals money from her, whips her once to assert power over her, and wrestles playfully with another girl in town named Nunkie. In this chapter, ships on the horizon represent dreams that are unattainable.

Janie waits nine months and when the summer comes again, she stands at the gate and begins "expecting things." In this first chapter, she has just returned from a two year journey. Nolan, Rachel ed. A few weeks after Tea Cake's death, Janie returns to Eatonville because she cannot bear to remain in the Everglades, where she is surrounded by memories of her beloved Tea Cake.

Because of Tea Cake's younger age and lower social status, the townspeople worry about Janie going out with him, but Janie disregards their judgment and listens to her feelings instead. Soon after these conversations, Jody dies. This chapter introduces a number of motifs that recur throughout the novel including the horizon, porches, and hair. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. 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. 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. Janie is miserable in her marriage and Nanny seems puzzled as to why. Joe Starks asks Janie where her parents are. Janie begins telling the story of her life.
How is prejudice shown when Teacake is forced to help bury the dead? At the end of the novel, Janie returns to Eatonville – this return is the point at which the novel starts – and concludes her story to Pheoby. This ability to create a fantasy demonstrates a large difference between Janie and the other women in the story.


Janie laughs and says that she's married but that her husband is away buying a mule for her to plow. Janie complies, they marry, and head off together to Eatonville, Florida. Verma, Olivia. 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.". This novel is the story of Janie Crawford's search for love, told, as noted earlier, in the form of a frame.

Janie realizes, however, that in his ill and manic state, Tea Cake has convinced himself of Janie's infidelity, and has been hiding a loaded pistol beneath his pillow. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Unfortunately, her hopes are instead met by abuse by Logan, whom she feels treats her as an animal. Pheoby leaves the women to take some supper to Janie. Janie does not know that she is black until a photograph of her is taken with the other children. Janie is not happy about this and says that all she will do is cut potatoes, and Logan calls her spoiled. First, it is important to note that Janie feels no affection or interest in Johnny prior to her sexual epiphany under the pear tree.