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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Jody must have noticed it too. Maybe, he had seen it [his old age] long before Janie did, and had been fearing for her to see. Because he began to talk about her age all the time, as if he didn’t want her to stay young while he grew old. It was always "You oughta throw somethin’ over yo’ shoulders befo’ you go outside. You ain’t no young pullet no mo’. You’se uh old hen now."…If he thought to deceive her, he was wrong. For the first time she could see a man’s head naked of its skull. Saw the cunning thoughts race in and out through the caves and promontories of his mind long before they darted out of the tunnel of his mouth. She saw he was hurting inside so she let it pass without talking. (7.8)

Even though Joe’s malicious thoughts are transparent to Janie, she lets them pass because she has compassion for Joe and does not want him to suffer. This is, of course, a very quiet brand of compassion that is not noticed—much less reciprocated—by her arrogant, self-serving husband.

Quote #5

"Ah’d ruther be dead than for Jody tuh think Ah’d hurt him," she sobbed to Pheoby. "It ain’t always been too pleasant, ‘cause you know how Joe worships de works of his own hands, but God in heben knows Ah wouldn’t do one thing tuh hurt nobody. It’s too underhand and mean." (8.6)

Even though Joe has treated her badly, Janie cannot find it in her heart to wish him ill. It’s not that she’s in love with Joe, though, it’s more of a universal compassion for every human ("Ah wouldn’t […] hurt nobody").

Quote #6

The half-washed bedclothes hurt her pride for Jody. He had always been so clean. (8.19)

Even something as insignificant as dirty laundry can incite Janie’s compassion for her formerly glorious husband. It shows the magnitude of his decay that he would let his hygiene slip.

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