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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 12 Quotes

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

[Pheoby about Janie:] "Still and all, she’s her own woman. She oughta know by now whut she wants tuh do." (12.7)

Pheoby, being a woman, recognizes that women are intelligent and know what they want out of life and out of their men. She sees that independence in Janie and thus awards her friend with the title of being "her own woman." This sense of self-ownership and self-confidence is usually reserved for a man. Thus, this can be seen as one instance of Janie crossing the traditional boundaries between men and women.

[Janie to Pheoby:] "Ah’m older than Tea Cake, yes. But he done showed me where it’s de thought dat makes de difference in ages. If people thinks de same they can make it all right. So in the beginnin’ new thoughts had tuh be thought and new words said. After Ah got used tuh dat, we gits ‘long jus’ fine. He done taught me de maiden language all over." (12.40)

Disregarding her and Tea Cake’s substantial age difference brings Janie back to something of a childhood phase, where everything feels new. This rebirthing stage requires new thoughts "tuh be thought and new words said." While her first two marriages stripped Janie of her innocence, when Janie is with Tea Cake, she feels like a child again and her innocence and maidenhood are restored, as evidenced in the "maiden language" she learns.

Pheoby Watson

Quote 3

[Pheoby]: "Course she kin do as she please, but dat’s uh good chance she got up at Sanford. De man’s wife died and he got u lovely place tuh take her to – already furnished. Better’n her house Joe left her." (12.5)

Pheoby obviously values material wealth and stability, marks of the higher class. Because the Sanford undertaker’s house is "better’n her house Joe left her," Pheoby thinks the decision is a no-brainer: marry the undertaker. But Janie has different values than Pheoby and the other Eatonville citizens; she’s experience material wealth and knows that it’s not what drives her.

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