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

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 15 Quotes Page 3

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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 7

Janie made a move to seize Nunkie but the girl fled. So she took out behind her over the humped-up cane rows. But Nunkie did not mean to be caught. So Janie went on home. The sight of the fields and the other happy people was too much for her that day. She walked slowly and thoughtfully to the quarters. It wasn’t long before Tea Cake found her there and tried to talk. She cut him short with a blow and they fought from one room to the other, Janie trying to beat him, and Tea Cake kept holding her wrists and whatever he could to keep her from going too far. (15.9)

Janie’s jealousy manifests itself physically. She chases Nunkie with a malicious intent and when she sees Tea Cake, she is so enraged that she loses control and tries to beat him with her fists. This is the first time readers have seen Janie so intensely emotional that words will not come and she expresses herself physically instead. She’s kind of a banshee in this scene.

Quote 8

The next morning Janie asked like a woman, "You still love ole Nunkie?"

"Naw, never did, and you know it too. Ah didn’t want her."

"Yeah, you did." She didn’t say this because she believed it. She wanted to hear his denial. She had to crow over the fallen Nunkie. (15.15-17)

Janie, in a gesture that some might call petty, rejoices in her triumph over Nunkie. Even though she is secure in her knowledge of Tea Cake’s love and devotion to her, she still takes pride in overcoming someone who was once a threat to her and once a cause for jealousy.

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.

The next morning Janie asked like a woman, "You still love ole Nunkie?"

"Naw, never did, and you know it too. Ah didn’t want her."

"Yeah, you did." She didn’t say this because she believed it. She wanted to hear his denial. She had to crow over the fallen Nunkie.

"Whut would Ah do wid dat lil chunk of a woman wid you around? She ain’t good for nothin’ exceptin’ tuh set up in uh corner by de kitchen stove and break wood over her head. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die." (15.14-18)

Even though Janie has every reason to spite and leave Tea Cake for his inappropriate flirting with Nunkie, she forgives him – or rather, they forgive each other in a cathartic session of lovemaking. However, Janie’s forgiveness is not entirely selfless. She cannot bring herself to forgive Nunkie. Thus, we see a less forgiving, cattier side of Janie that is rather uncharacteristic.

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