Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Most humans didn’t love one another nohow, and this mislove was so strong that even common blood couldn’t overcome it all the time. She had found a jewel down inside herself and she had wanted to walk where people could see her and gleam it around. But she had been set in the market-place to sell. Been set for still-bait. When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered al over. Then after that some angels got jealous and chipped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine. (9.4)
Janie’s story renders man a victim of fate. In this case, the forces of fate are the jealous angels, divine beings that beat down man and try to smother his shining, singing virtue in mud. If this is true, it means that man is destined to wallow in the mud, never being able to show his true worth to his fellow man.
All next day in the house and store she thought resisting thoughts about Tea Cake. She even ridiculed him in her mind and was a little ashamed of the association. But every hour or two the battle had to be fought all over again. She couldn’t make him look just like any other man to her. He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossom – a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God. (11.68)
Janie’s prudence warns her against getting too intimate with Tea Cake, but fate pulls her inevitably towards him. It’s almost like his appearance and smell make him completely irresistible and she has little choice about whether or not to fall in love with him.
[Janie]: But oh God, don’t let Tea Cake be off somewhere hurt and Ah not know nothing about it. And God, please suh, don’t let him love nobody else but me. May Ah’m is uh fool, Lawd, lak dey say, but Lawd, Ah been so lonesome, and Ah been waitin’, Jesus. Ah done waited uh long time. (13.15)
Janie tries to show her faith by praying to God. Her prayer is an attempt to use her free will to beg for his safe return, rather than just sit back and see what the future has in store for her.