Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 8 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Why must Joe be so mad with her for making him look small when he did it to her all the time? (8.1)
Janie recognizes and laments an unfair double standard: men always put down women and expect them to take it while the reverse does not hold true; women cannot possibly insult their men without drastic and often public consequences. There is a sexual double meaning here, with "small" meaning both Joe’s reputation and his actual manhood.
[Janie]: "But Ah ain’t goin’ outa here and Ah ain’t gointuh hush. Naw, you gointuh listen tuh me one time befo’ you die. Have yo’ way all yo’ life, trample and mash down and then die ruther than tuh let yo’self heah ‘bout it. Listen, Jody, you ain’t de Jody ah run off down de road wid. You’se whut’s left after he died. Ah run off tuh keep house wid you in uh wonderful way. But you wasn’t satisfied wid me de way Ah was. Naw! Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowded out tuh make room for yours in me. " (8.39)
Janie makes plain to Joe one way that men try to keep women down – by silencing their voices (often by speaking louder than their women or ignoring their pleas). Because a person’s words are a direct product of their mind, Janie recognizes that Joe’s attempts to silence her are an intrusion on her very thoughts.
Then thought about herself. Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass. It had been a long time since she had remembered. Perhaps she’d better look. She went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features. The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place. (8.45)
Even after years of repression and insult from Joe, Janie’s womanly beauty and strength remain. This seems to be Hurston’s way of showing how much women can endure and still emerge with their sense of identity unscathed.