Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford Quotes
[Janie to Pheoby]: "Ah’m older than Tea Cake, yes. But he done showed me where it’s de thought dat makes de difference in ages. If people thinks de same they can make it all right. So in the beginnin’ new thoughts had tuh be thought and new words said. After Ah got used tuh dat, we gits ‘long jus’ fine. He done taught me de maiden language all over." (12.40)
Disregarding her and Tea Cake’s substantial age difference brings Janie back to something of a childhood phase, where everything feels new. This rebirthing stage requires "new thoughts tuh be thought and new words said." While her first two marriages stripped Janie of her innocence, when Janie’s with Tea Cake she feels like a child again, her innocence and maidenhood are restored, as evidenced in the "maiden language" she learns.
[Janie]: "S’posin’ Ah wuz to run off and leave yuh sometime."
[…] The thought put a terrible ache in Logan’s body, but he thought it best to put on scorn […]
"Ah’m sleepy. Ah don’t aim to worry mah gut into a fiddlestring wid no s’posin’." He flopped over resentful in his agony and pretended sleep. He hoped that he had hurt her as she had hurt him. (4.43-49)
Even though Logan has trouble showing it in any way that Janie can understand, he does indeed love Janie and deeply fears losing her. That she would voice his deepest fear to him so casually hurts Logan so much that he wants to hurt her back out of spite. This harkens back to the idea of love as painful.
[Janie]: Yes, she would love Logan after they were married. She could see no way for it to come about, but Nanny and the old folks had said it, so it must be so. Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant. It was just so. Janie felt glad of the thought, for then it wouldn’t seem so destructive and mouldy. She wouldn’t be lonely anymore.
But anyhow Janie went on inside to wait for love to begin. The new moon had been up and down three times before she got worried in mind. (3.1-3)
Simply because Nanny tells her so, Janie assumes that marriage entails love. She assumes that after she marries Logan, she will magically wake up one day and love him. Some might read this as a defense mechanism, something to help her justify the obvious unfairness of being forced to marry someone she doesn’t love. However, when love does not come after three months, Janie begins to doubt.