Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 15 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[After Janie finds Tea Cake messing around with Nunkie:] It wasn’t long before Tea Cake found her…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 wherever he could to keep her from going too far. (15.9)
Even though Janie is justifiably angry with Tea Cake for flirting with Nunkie, she transgresses traditional gender boundaries by daring to hit Tea Cake. Because he loves her, Tea Cake does not retaliate but he still "keeps her from going too far;" in other words, he keeps Janie from engaging in too much of this all-too-masculine violence.
"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." (15.18)
Tea Cake reassures Janie of his love for her and only her. He praises her beauty as mesmerizing enough to "make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die." Her love makes Tea Cake ageless and immortal.
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)
Sex and love, as highlighted here, share much common ground with rage; both are to some extent founded on mutual overwhelming passion and a desire to express that passion physically.