Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford Quotes
She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, "Ah hope you fall on soft ground," because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. (3.31)
Having endured a loveless and thankless marriage with Logan, Janie has sympathy for anything that might encounter hardship in life – especially the seeds that remind her of her lovely experience under the pear tree.
"Ah’d ruther be dead than for Jody tuh think Ah’d hurt him," she sobbed to Pheoby. "It ain’t always been too pleasant, ‘cause you know how Joe worships de works of his own hands, but God in heben knows Ah wouldn’t do one thing tuh hurt nobody. It’s too underhand and mean." (8.6)
Even though Joe has treated her badly, Janie cannot find it in her heart to wish him ill. It’s not that she’s in love with Joe, though, it’s more of a universal compassion for every human ("Ah wouldn’t […] hurt nobody").
"Dis sittin’ in de rulin’ chair is been hard on Jody," she muttered out loud. She was full of pity for the first time in years. Jody had been hard on her and others, but life had mishandled him too. Poor Joe! Maybe if she had known some other way to try, she might have made his face different. But what that other way could be, she had no idea. (8.45)
Even when Joe dies unrepentant for all the wrongs he has committed against Janie, she pities him. Where most people would rejoice at Joe’s death, Janie actually shows regret. She wishes that she had known how to treat him better while he was alive. This is rather ironic since Joe voiced no regrets about how he had treated her. This reveals the sheer depth of Janie’s compassion and willingness to forgive, a characteristic that makes her almost Christ-like.