Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 19 Quotes
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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
And twelve more white men had stopped whatever they were doing to listen and pass on what happened between Janie and Tea Cake Woods, and as to whether things were done right or not. That was funny too. Twelve strange men who didn’t know a thing about people like Tea Cake and her were going to sit on the thing. Eight or ten white women had come to look at her too. They wore good clothes and had the pinky color that comes of good food. They were nobody’s poor white folks. What need had they to leave their richness to come look on Janie in her overalls? But they didn’t seem too mad, Janie thought. It would be nice if she could make them know how it was instead of those menfolks. (19.155)
In a strange moment of identification, Janie feels a kinship with the white women who have come to listen to her trial. By pure fact of their womanhood, she feels they would understand and sympathize with her more than would the jury of men.
"Aw you know dem white mens wuzn’t gointuh do nothin’ tuh no woman dat look lak her." (19.178)
The black male speaker implies that the men of the jury are inherently biased towards Janie for her beauty. Is it true that the male jury is doing favors for a pretty lady, or is the male speaker just belittling Janie’s because of his own sexist notions about a woman killing her own husband? Or neither?
Now she was her sacrificing self with Tea Cake’s head in her lap. She had wanted him to live so much and he was dead. No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep. Janie held his head tightly to her breast and wept and thanked him wordlessly for giving her the chance for loving service. She had to hug him tight for soon he would be gone, and she had to tell him for the last time. (19.153)
After the tragedy of being forced to shoot her love, Janie grievously laments his death. But most importantly, she is grateful for having the privilege to know and love him. Janie didn’t only need to feel loved, but be able to give love. Recall that on his deathbed, Jamie accused Joe of not allowing her to love him.