Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 4 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Long before the year was up, Janie noticed that her husband had stopped talking in rhymes to her. He had ceased to wonder at her long black hair and finger it. Six months back he had told her, "If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuh yuh, look lak you oughta be able tuh tote it inside. Mah fust wife never bothered me ‘bout choppin’ no wood nohow. She’d grab dat ax and sling chips lak uh man. You done been spoilt rotten." (4.1)
Nanny’s prophecy comes true and Logan stops "kissing Janie’s feet," stops bowing down to please her, and begins expecting her to pull her own weight. Janie learns that her physical charms cannot hold a man’s interest for long and that he soon stops sweet-talking or "talking in rhymes" to her when he finds that she has little to offer in return. Any illusion Janie had of love with Logan is destroyed.
The morning road air was like a new dress. That made her feel and apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet. After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. (4.59)
The emphasis on newness in the first half of the passage recalls Janie’s youth, when everything, particularly the products of nature, seemed new and wonderful. This feeds appropriately into Janie’s decision to start a new life and try for in Eden-like innocence – represented by "flower dust and springtime" – with a man who seems to want nothing more than to love Janie.
[Logan]: "Ah thought you would ‘preciate good treatement. Thought Ah’d take and make somethin’ outa yuh. You think youse white folks by de way you act." (4.42)
Logan seems to think that a black woman can’t demand any respect or good treatment and ought to be happy as her husband’s workhorse. If she demands anything better, Logan thinks that Janie is putting on airs.