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)
But oh God, don’t let Tea Cake be off somewhere hurt and Ah not know nothing about it. (13.15)
Janie’s speaks this prayer, even though she suspects Tea Cake may have stolen her money and run off with a younger woman. Janie does not allow spite or jealousy to rule her heart, but instead prays saint-like for Tea Cake’s wellbeing. Is this woman for real?
They fought on. "You done hurt mah heart, now you come wid uh lie tuh bruise mah ears! Turn go mah hands!" Janie seethed. But Tea Cake never let go. They wrestled on until they were doped with their own fumes and emanations; till their clothes had been torn away; till he hurled her to the floor and held her there melting her resistance with the heat of his body, doing things with their bodies to express the inexpressible; kissed her until she arched her body to meet him and they fell asleep in sweet exhaustion.
The next morning Janie asked like a woman, "You still love ole Nunkie?"
"Naw, never did, and you know it too. Ah didn’t want her."
"Yeah, you did." She didn’t say this because she believed it. She wanted to hear his denial. She had to crow over the fallen Nunkie.
"Whut would Ah do wid dat lil chunk of a woman wid you around? She ain’t good for nothin’ exceptin’ tuh set up in uh corner by de kitchen stove and break wood over her head. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die." (15.14-18)
Even though Janie has every reason to spite and leave Tea Cake for his inappropriate flirting with Nunkie, she forgives him – or rather, they forgive each other in a cathartic session of lovemaking. However, Janie’s forgiveness is not entirely selfless. She cannot bring herself to forgive Nunkie. Thus, we see a less forgiving, cattier side of Janie that is rather uncharacteristic.
Sop and his friends had tried to hurt her but she knew it was because they loved Tea Cake and didn’t understand. So she sent Sop word and to all the others through him. So the day of the funeral they came with shame and apology in their faces. They wanted her quick forgetfulness. So they filled up and overflowed the ten sedans that Janie had hired and added others to the line. (19.183)
Although Sop and his friends tried to testify against Janie in her trial, Janie forgives them. This is a rather generous. But Janie selflessly looks at the situation from their point of view and realizes that these men acted as they did out of love for Tea Cake.