Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Innocence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[Janie to Mrs. Turner]: "Ah couldn’t stand it if he [Tea Cake] wuz tuh quit me. Don’t know whut Ah’d do. He kin take most any lil thing and make summertime out of it when times is dull. Then we lives offa dat happiness he made till some mo’ happiness come along." (16.13)
Janie tells the skeptical Mrs. Turner that Tea Cake is the true love of her life because he can bring snippets of profound happiness and innocence back into her life. Because Janie has always associated her innocence with spring and summer, the fact that she calls Tea Cake’s creations "summertime" shows just how deeply she cherishes those times and the man who makes them possible.
[Tea Cake]: "Thank yuh, ma’am, but don’t say you’se ole. You’se uh lil girl baby all de time. God made it so you spent yo’ ole age first wid somebody else, and saved up yo’ young girl days to spend wid me." (19.127)
In an attempt to compliment Janie, Tea Cake remarks that she is still a young "lil girl baby" to him because she seems to have all her youthful exuberance and instinctive trust about her still. When hearing this, readers immediately recognize the truth of his words; Janie spent her "old age first" or days of bitterness with Logan and Joe and saved her "young girl days" or childlike innocence to lavish on her true love, Tea Cake.
Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see. (20.12)
Both Janie’s innocence and maturity are represented here in the image of the horizon. As an innocent child, Janie always chased her horizons. Here at the end, she has both worshipped her horizons from afar and traveled them so she has the capacity to "pull it from around the waist of the world and drape it over her shoulder," without complete ignorance but also without cynicism. Now she can just marvel and cherish all the life snared in its meshes and relive her many full memories.