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)
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.
Mrs. Turner believes fate works like karma – rewarding those who have worked hard and worshipped harder. She believes her faith alone will render her a fully white woman and admit her into a white Paradise.
Some rabbits scurried through the quarters going east. Some possums slunk by and their route was definite. One or two at a time, then more. By the time the people left the fields the procession was constant. Snakes, rattlesnakes began to cross the quarters. The men killed a few, but they could not be missed from the crawling horde. People stayed indoors until daylight. Several times during the night Janie heard the snort of big animals like deer. Once the muted voice of a panther. Going east and east. That night the palm and banana trees began that long distance talk with rain. Several people took fright and picked up and went in to Palm Beach anyway. A thousand buzzards held a flying meet and then went above the clouds and stayed. (18.6)
The children of mother nature know what fate has in store for them and they are not sticking around to meet it. Because the invincible forces of mother nature are so wholly devastating and cannot be prevented, they are often linked to the forces of fate. Thus, it makes sense that the animals would have instincts warning them of the coming storm.
Sometime that night the winds came back. Everything in the world had a strong rattle, sharp and short like Stew Beef vibrating the drum head near the edge with his fingers. By morning Gabriel was playing the deep tones in the center of the drum. So when Janie looked out of her door she saw the drifting mists gathered in the west – that cloud field of the sky – to arms themselves with thunders and march forth against the world. (18.26)
Everyone realizes the storm is indeed coming when the narrator makes the comparison of the coming storm to "Gabriel [the angel of death]…playing the deep tones" as if prophesying the coming death of the Everglades’ inhabitants. Their doom is approaching and to underscore this concept that the world has turned against them, heaven is united against them, "arm[ed with] thunders." Divine justice is swooping down on those who did not heed warnings to leave the swamp.