© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Appearances Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

[Joe]: "You behind a plow! You ain’t got no mo’ business wid uh plow than uh hog is got wid uh holiday! You ain’t got no business cuttin’ up no seed p’taters neither. A pretty doll-baby lak you is made to sit on de front porch and rock and fan yo’self and eat p’taters dat other folks plant just special for you." (4.26)

Like Janie, Joe bases his first assumptions on the pretty girl in front of him purely on looks. However charming he is, his words treat Janie like some adorable little object, not as a serious human being. While he says that since Janie is pretty she shouldn’t be working hard, that also means he doesn’t think ugly women deserve to "sit on de front porch […] and eat p’taters dat other folks plant just special for [her]." Essentially, Joe judges the value of a woman based on her appearance.

Quote #8

[Hicks to Joe and Janie]: "You and yo’ daughter goin’ tuh join wid us in fellowship?" (5.8)

Janie’s loveliness and youth make Hicks assume that she is Joe’s daughter, instead of his wife. This also highlights the age difference between Joe and Janie that will become crucial later.

Quote #9

[Tony Taylor]: "He [Joe] didn’t just come hisself neither. He have seen fit tuh bring his, er, er, de light uh his home, dat is his wife amongst us also. She couldn’t look no mo’ better and no nobler if she wuz de queen uh England. It’s uh pledger fuh her euh be amongst us." (5.91)

Tony and the rest of the Eatonville men are happy to have Janie living amongst them not because she’s a great person, but because she’s gorgeous. They’re so struck by Janie’s beauty that she is described as a "light" and the "queen uh England." Both of these things are usually white in color, so even unintentionally, her beauty always refers back to whiteness. Does this mean that Hurston equates whiteness with beauty, and not blackness?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...