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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 11 Quotes

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

[Tea Cake:] "De way you looked at me when Ah said whut Ah did. Yo’ face skeered me so bad till mah whiskers drawed up."

"Ah ain’t got no business bein’ mad at nothin’ you do and say. You got it all wrong. Ah ain’t mad atall."

"Ah know it and dat’s why puts de shamery on me. You’se jus’ disgusted wid me. Yo’ face jus’ left here and went off somewhere else. Naw, you ain’t mad wid me. Ah be glad if was, ‘cause then Ah might do somethin’ tuh please yuh. But lak it is— "(11.50-52)

One of the reasons that Janie loves Tea Cake so much is that he is open with her, admitting his fear when he sees her displeasure and stating his determination to do anything to please her. Unlike Joe, Tea Cake does not silence Janie but actually listens to her and even reads into her expressions—something that Joe completely ignored.

Quote 5

"Why, Tea Cake? Whut good do combin’ mah hair do you? It’s mah comfortable, not yourn."

"It’s mine too. Ah ain’t been sleepin’ so good for more’n uh week cause Ah been wishin’ so bad tuh git mah hands in yo’ hair. It’s so pretty. It feels jus’ lak underneath uh dove’s wing next to mah face." (11.37-38)

The fact that Tea Cake takes pleasure in giving pleasure to Janie endears him to her. Janie has only known selfish men who only took pleasure in pleasing themselves. Logan's and Joe’s short-lived attempts to please Janie always fell short or turned out to be only pretense. That Tea Cake can find happiness in pleasing Janie helps him win her love; his actions bring them mutual happiness.

Quote 6

It was so crazy digging worms by lamp light and setting out for Lake Sabelia after midnight that she felt like a child breaking rules. That’s what made Janie like it. They caught two or three and got home just before day. Then she had to smuggle Tea Cake out by the back gate and that made it seem like some great secret she was keeping from the town. (11.24)

Janie’s adventures with Tea Cake remind her of all the enjoyable mischief of her childhood, reviving pleasant memories of her days of innocence, before Logan and Joe. This is one of the factors that makes Janie fall in love with Tea Cake—his fun-loving ease and childlike spontaneity—and allows Janie to be herself around him. Unlike Logan and Joe, Tea Cake is not inflated with a sense of his own importance and gravity. He seems to be an embodiment of innocence.

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