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)
"Naw, you ain’t sleepy, Mis’ Janie. You jus’ want me tuh go. You figger Ah’m uh rounder and uh pimp and you done wasted too much time talkin’ wid me." (11.48)
Tea Cake does not hedge around the truth when Janie shows reluctance to speak to him; instead, he accurately reads her emotions and puts them into words. His frankness and blunt way of speaking the truth contrasts sharply with the other two men Janie has been with and this makes her more attracted to Tea Cake.
"Me scramble ‘round tuh git de money tuh take yuh – been workin’ lak uh dawg for two whole weeks – and she come astin’ me if Ah want her tuh go! Puttin’ mahself tuh uh whole heap uh trouble tuh git dis car so you kin go over tuh Winter Park or Orlandah tuh buy de things you might need and dis woman set dere and ast me if Ah want her tuh go!"
"Don’t git mad, Tea Cake, Ah just didn’t want you doin’ nothin’ outa politeness. If dere’s somebody else you’d ruther take, it’s all right wid me." (11.91-92)
Tea Cake lays bare the absurdity of Janie’s attempt to be polite. By doing this, he closes the distance between himself and Janie.
So he didn’t come that night and she laid in bed and pretended to think scornfully of him. "Bet he’s hangin’ round some jook or ‘nother. Glad Ah treated him cold. Whut do Ah want wid some trashy nigger out de streets? Bet he’s livin’ wid some woman or ‘nother and takin’ me for uh fool. Glad Ah caught mahself in time." She tried to console herself that way. (11.69)
Janie knows what it feels to be jealous for the first time. Because she has established a strong, positive connection with Tea Cake, she feels betrayed when he doesn’t immediately come visit her again. To soothe her spurned heart, Janie pushes her anger onto Tea Cake, writing him off as unfaithful and a "trashy nigger." This last phrase is reminiscent of Nanny’s reaction to Johnny Taylor; without being conscious of it, Janie is slowly letting her bitterness transform her into the narrow-minded woman that Nanny was.