Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 15 Quotes
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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
They fought on. "You done hurt mah heart, now you come wid uh lie tuh bruise mah ears! Turn go mah hands!" Janie seethed. But Tea Cake never let go. They wrestled on until they were doped with their own fumes and emanations; till their clothes had been torn away; till he hurled her to the floor and held her there melting her resistance with the heat of his body, doing things with their bodies to express the inexpressible; kissed her until she arched her body to meet him and they fell asleep in sweet exhaustion. (15.14)
Janie’s and Tea Cake’s fight over Nunkie turns into a steamy round of lovemaking. Here, Hurston highlights the similarities between wild passion and rage.
Janie learned what it felt like to be jealous. A little chunky girl took to picking a play out of Tea Cake in the fields and in the quarters. If he said anything at all, she’d take the opposite side and hit him or shove him and run away to make him chase her. Janie knew what she was up to – luring him away from the crowd. It kept up for two or three weeks with Nunkie getting bolder all the time. She’d hit Tea Cake playfully and the minute he so much as tapped her with his finger she’d fall against him or fall on the ground and have to be picked up. She’d be almost helpless. It took a good deal of handling to set her on her feet again. And another thing, Tea Cake didn’t seem to be able to fend her off as promptly as Janie thought he ought to. She began to be snappish a little. A little seed of fear was growing into a tree. (15.1)
Janie finally learns what it feels like to be truly jealous of another woman. This young, chunky Nunkie seems to inspire a dangerous degree of playfulness in Tea Cake, according to Janie. The jealousy felt by Logan and Joe earlier in the novel is finally manifested in Janie because she has finally found true love and fears losing it. This kind of puts her two previous marriages into perspective; maybe both Logan and Joe truly loved Janie as much as Janie now loves Tea Cake.
He [Sop-de-Bottom] waved his hand towards the cane field and hurried away. Janie never thought at all. She just acted on feelings. She rushed into the cane and about the fifth row down she found Tea Cake and Nunkie struggling. She was on them before either knew.
"Whut’s de matter heah?" Janie asked in a cold rage. They sprang apart.
"Nothin’," Tea Cake told her, standing shame-faced.
"Well, whut you doin’ in heah? How come you ain’t out dere wid de rest?"
"She grabbed mah workin’ tickets outa mah shirt pocket and Ah run tuh git ‘em back," Tea Cake explained, showing the tickets, considerably mauled about in the struggle. (15.4-8)
When afflicted by jealousy, Janie loses all rational thought. She "just act[s] on feelings" and when she finds the guilty couple, interrogates them coldly, reveling in both party’s guilt. Her jealousy here is at least somewhat justified because Tea Cake is indeed messing around with Nunkie more than is socially acceptable for a married man. It’s interesting that jealousy makes Janie the more animated than she is in any other part of the whole novel.