From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 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 Chapter 11 Quotes

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

Quote 1

Janie awoke next morning by feeling Tea Cake almost kissing her breath away. Holding her and caressing her as if he feared she might escape his grasp and fly away. Then he must dress hurriedly and get to his job on time. He wouldn’t let her get him any breakfast at all. He wanted her to get her rest. He made her stay where she was. In her heart she wanted to get his breakfast for him. But she stayed in bed long after he was gone.

So much had been breathed out by the pores that Tea Cake still was there. She could feel him and almost see him bucking around the room in the upper air. After a long time of passive happiness, she got up and opened the window and let Tea Cake leap forth and mount to the sky on a wind. That was the beginning of things. (11.81-82)

After spending a blissful night with Tea Cake and a lazy morning, Janie realizes how deeply she loves him. Her previous experiences with Logan and Joe have killed the innocent and childlike parts of her so she sees her relationship with Tea Cake as a chance to start anew; thus he is "the beginning of things."

Quote 2

All next day in the house and store she thought resisting thoughts about Tea Cake. She even ridiculed him in her mind and was a little ashamed of the association. But every hour or two the battle had to be fought all over again. She couldn’t make him look just like any other man to her. He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossom—a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God. (11.68)

Though the "proper" woman in Janie is struggling over getting involved with a man as young as Tea Cake, Janie’s heart has already been won over. In her mind’s eye, she already sees him as a bee to her pear blossom. She associates him with all the romantic natural imagery that she evokes when she thinks of her pear tree—the overwhelming "scent" of "aromatic herbs."

[Tea Cake:] "Things lak dat [age] got uh whole lot tuh do wid convenience, but it ain’t got nothin’ tuh do wid love." (11.62)

Tea Cake does not care about social prescriptions over such trifles as age differences when there is real love involved. And the fact that he has the courage to address such a touchy subject directly to Janie further endears him to her.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...