Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 18 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[Tea Cake]: "But ‘sposing you wuz tuh die now. You wouldn’t git mad at me for draggin’ yuh heah?"
"Naw, We been tuhgether round two years. If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all. Ah wuz fumblin’ round and God opened de door." (18.36-37)
In her reassuring response to Tea Cake, Janie likens life to a day – referring to traditional light imagery of dawn representing hope while dusk and the coming of darkness symbolizes despair. She calls Tea Cake her "light at daybreak" and considers her life full enough so that she can "die at dusk" peacefully.
As soon as Tea Cake went out pushing wind in front of him, he saw that the wind and water had given life to lots of things that folks think of as dead and given death to so much that had been living things. (18.40)
The God-sent storm is of such a magnitude that it seems to turn the world upside-down, enlivening dead things and killing the living. This perhaps foreshadows the death of Tea Cake, an entity that has lived his life so joyously.
[while fleeing from the hurricane]: They passed a dead man in a sitting position on a hummock, entirely surrounded by wild animals and snakes. Common danger made common friends. Nothing sought a conquest over the other. (18.89)
Death is the great equalizer. Fear of death renders all living creatures immobilized and passive, quelling their desire to strike out – even in fear – and making their ultimate goal one and the same – to survive the storm. Thus, no creature lashes out against another.