Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford Quotes
"Listen, Jody, you ain’t de Jody ah run off down de road wid. You’se whut’s left after he died." (8.39)
For Janie, the real Joe died a long time ago when the "big voice" took over. This Joe that lies before Janie is a pitiful shadow and remnant of Joe’s former glory. Whereas the "real" Joe had substance, this Joe is only a voice.
[Janie]: "You mean he’s liable tuh die, doctah?"
[Doctor Simmons]: "’Sho is. But de worst thing is he’s liable tuh suffer somethin’ awful befo’ he goes." (19.96-97)
This is the second husband that Janie will lose to death. Both Joe and Tea Cake should have been sought medical treatment before their illnesses reached a critical stage, but both were too proud to do so. In the end, such reckless behavior not only kills them, but forces them and their loving wife (Janie) to "suffer somethin’ awful" before they die. Sadly, both deaths were utterly preventable.
[Janie]: "Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons. Dis house ain’t so absent of things lak it used tuh be befo’ Tea Cake come along. It’s full uh thoughts, ‘specially dat bedroom." (20.6)
Now that Janie has lived her life to the fullest, she can look back and indulge in memories. She can now "live by comparisons," comparing her marriages to one another and appreciating little things like the bedroom of her Eatonville house now that it is rife with memories of Tea Cake, and even Joe. Now that Janie’s dreams have been fulfilled, she can recall that happiness at will and be grateful for it because she has lived in darker, less blessed times.