Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 12 Quotes Page 2

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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 4

[Janie]: "Jody classed me off. Ah didn’t. Naw, Pheoby, Tea Cake ain’t draggin’ me off nowhere Ah don’t want tuh go. Ah always did want tuh git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh. When Ah wasn’t in de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hands and sit dere. And Ah’d sit dere wid de walls creepin’ up on me and squeezin’ all de life outa me. Pheoby, dese educated women got uh heap of things to sit down and consider. Somebody done tole ‘em what to set down for. Nobody ain’t told poor me, so sittin’ still worries me. Ah wants tuh utilize mahself all over." (12.16)

Janie was always viewed as a trophy by Joe, one to be polished and placed on a pedestal and never to be touched by others’ grubby hands. His treatment of her left Janie isolated and bored. While Janie doesn’t directly criticize people of the upper classes, she hated being idle herself and wants to be of some use, implying that high class idleness is essentially a waste. Since none of those educated ladies probably know what they’re sitting around for either, the upper-class women must not be utilizing themselves in any productive way.

Quote 5

"She was borned in slavery time when folks, dat is black folks, didn’t sit down anytime dey felt lak it. So sittin’ on porches lak de white madam look lak uh might fine thing tuh her. Dat’s whut she wanted for me – don’t keer whut it cost. Git up on uh high chair and sit dere. She didn’t have time tuh think whut tuh do after you got up on de stool uh do nothin’. De object wuz tuh git dere. So Ah got up on de high stool lak she told me, but Pheoby, Ah done nearly languished tuh death up dere…"

"Maybe so, Janie. Still and all Ah’d love tuh experience it for just one year. It look lak heben tuh me from where Ah’m at." (12.32-33)

Janie, now that she’s experienced wealth, knows it doesn’t make her happy. Like Nanny, Pheoby has had a working life and also thinks that a wealthy, idle lifestyle seems pretty nice. Would Janie really be happier poor, or is this a "grass is always greener" kind of situation? Even when she’s working in the Everglades with Tea Cake, she does always have plenty cash in the bank just in case…

[Janie to Pheoby]: "Naw, Pheoby, Tea Cake ain’t draggin’ me off nowhere Ah don’t want tuh go. Ah always did want tuh git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh. When Ah wasn’t in de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hands and sit dere. And Ah’d sit dere wid de walls creepin’ up on me and squeezin’ all de life outa me. Pheoby, dese educated women got uh heap of things to sit down and consider. Somebody done tole ‘em what to set down for. Nobody ain’t told poor me, so sittin’ still worries me. Ah wants tuh utilize mahself all over." (12.16)

Janie admits her desire to get up and get around, to move. Joe, however, didn’t want his woman to be too worldly and thus kept her confined and immobile in the store. Janie loves Tea Cake because he is not threatened by her mobility and her desire to "utilize [her]self all over."

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