Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 16 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[Janie to Mrs. Turner]: "Naw, mah husband didn’t had nothin’ but hisself. He’s easy tuh love if you mess round ‘im. Ah loves ‘im."
"Why you, Mis’ Woods! Ah don’t b’lieve it. You’se jus’ sorter hypnotized, dat’s all."
"Naw, it’s real. Ah couldn’t stand it if he wuz tuh quit me. Don’t know whut Ah’d do. . He kin take most any lil thing and make summertime out of it when times is dull. Then we lives offa dat happiness he made till some mo’ happiness come along." (16.11-13)
Mrs. Turner wants to turn Janie’s eyes and affection away from Tea Cake and toward her brother. She thinks her love for Tea Cake is but a sort of hypnosis that is only effective because Janie has not met men of real quality yet. But Janie is staunch in her love and loyalty to Tea Cake.
[Mr. Turner to Tea Cake]: "Ah reckon you ain’t [seen their children] ‘cause dey all passed on befo’ dis one wuz born. We ain’t had no luck atall wid our chillun. We lucky to raise him. He’s de last stroke of exhausted nature." (16.40)
Mr. and Mrs. Turner’s lukewarm love life is reflected in their sex life. Mr. Turner, nagged to death by Mrs. Turner’s brash and incessant words, can only emit enough passion to produce one healthy child.
[Janie to Mrs. Turner]: "Ah couldn’t stand it if he [Tea Cake] wuz tuh quit me. Don’t know whut Ah’d do. He kin take most any lil thing and make summertime out of it when times is dull. Then we lives offa dat happiness he made till some mo’ happiness come along." (16.13)
Janie tells the skeptical Mrs. Turner that Tea Cake is the true love of her life because he can bring snippets of profound happiness and innocence back into her life. Because Janie has always associated her innocence with spring and summer, the fact that she calls Tea Cake’s creations "summertime" shows just how deeply she cherishes those times and the man who makes them possible.