Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 19 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
But to kill her through Tea Cake was too much to bear. Tea Cake, the son of Evening Sun, had to die for loving her. (19.104)
Janie blames herself for Tea Cake’s upcoming death. Tea Cake got rabies because he loved Janie enough to save her from the rabid dog. Because of his love for her, he essentially sacrifices himself. Janie feels guilty for being the cause of her true love’s death.
[Tea Cake]: "Thank yuh, ma’am, but don’t say you’se ole. You’se uh lil girl baby all de time. God made it so you spent yo’ ole age first wid somebody else, and saved up yo’ young girl days to spend wid me." (19.127)
In an attempt to compliment Janie, Tea Cake remarks that she is still a young "lil girl baby" to him because she seems to have all her youthful exuberance and instinctive trust about her still. When hearing this, readers immediately recognize the truth of his words; Janie spent her "old age first" or days of bitterness with Logan and Joe and saved her "young girl days" or childlike innocence to lavish on her true love, Tea Cake.
"Aw you know dem white mens wuzn’t gointuh do nothin’ tuh no woman dat look lak her." […]
"Yeah, de nigger women kin kill up all de mens dey wants tuh, but you bet’ not kill one uh dem. De white folks will sho hang yuh if yuh do."
"Well, you know whut dey say ‘uh white man and uh nigger woman is de freest thing on earth.’ Dey do as dey please." (19.178-181)
According to the black men who are speaking, white men and black women are held to a different standard than other subgroups. White men – by virtue of their being part of the dominant race and sex – can impose themselves on others and thus do whatever they want. Black women, on the other hand, enjoy neither the pleasure of being in the dominant race or sex, but by virtue of their weakness in both, seem to receive an inordinate amount of mercy from their oppressors. Do you think that the speakers in the above quote are right, or are they just bitter?