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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Characters

Quote #34

[Janie, when Tea Cake comes home early from work]: "Maybe you think Ah ain’t treatin’ yuh right and you watchin’ me." (14.23)

Janie finally voices her biggest fear – that Tea Cake might suspect her of carrying on an affair behind his back. She has had enough experience with men to know that jealousy is part of their nature.

Quote #35

He [Sop-de-Bottom] waved his hand towards the cane field and hurried away. Janie never thought at all. She just acted on feelings. She rushed into the cane and about the fifth row down she found Tea Cake and Nunkie struggling. She was on them before either knew.

"Whut’s de matter heah?" Janie asked in a cold rage. They sprang apart.

"Nothin’," Tea Cake told her, standing shame-faced.

"Well, whut you doin’ in heah? How come you ain’t out dere wid de rest?"

"She grabbed mah workin’ tickets outa mah shirt pocket and Ah run tuh git ‘em back," Tea Cake explained, showing the tickets, considerably mauled about in the struggle. (15.4-8)

When afflicted by jealousy, Janie loses all rational thought. She "just act[s] on feelings" and when she finds the guilty couple, interrogates them coldly, reveling in both party’s guilt. Her jealousy here is at least somewhat justified because Tea Cake is indeed messing around with Nunkie more than is socially acceptable for a married man. It’s interesting that jealousy makes Janie the more animated than she is in any other part of the whole novel.

Quote #36

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. (15.15-17)

Janie, in a gesture that some might call petty, rejoices in her triumph over Nunkie. Even though she is secure in her knowledge of Tea Cake’s love and devotion to her, she still takes pride in overcoming someone who was once a threat to her and once a cause for jealousy.

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