Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford Quotes
"Ah don’t mean to bother wid tellin’ ‘em nothin’, Pheoby. ‘Tain’t worth the trouble. You can tell ‘em what I say if you wants to. Dat’s just de same as me ‘cause mah tongue is in mah friend’s mouf." (1.51)
Janie trusts Pheoby enough to repeat what she says faithfully to the porch gossips. This idea of linguistic integrity perhaps bolsters readers’ trust in Janie when she starts retelling her story, because it is obvious she values truth.
[Janie]: "To start off wid, people like dem wastes up too much time puttin’ they mouf on things they don’t know nothin’ about […]"
[Pheoby]: "[…] so long as they get a name to gnaw on they don’t care whose it is, and what about, ‘specially if they can make it sound like evil." (1.53-54)
Gossipers, according to Janie and Pheoby, have no greater purpose in life than to take someone’s words and twist them to make them sound "like evil." They find great pleasure in defaming others, whether or not such infamy is deserved.
Janie came back out front and sat own. She didn’t say anything and neither did Joe. But after a while he looked down at his feet and said, "Janie, Ah reckon you better go fetch me dem old black gaiters. Dese tan shoes sets mah feet on fire. Plenty room in ‘em, but they hurts regardless."
She got up without a word and went off for the shoes. A little war of defense for helpless things was going on inside her. People ought to have some regard for helpless things. She wanted to fight about it. "But Ah hates disagreement and confusion, so Ah better not talk. It makes it hard tuh git along." (6.48-49)
Because Janie wants to preserve peace between her and Joe, she remains silent and does not protest his demands like she wants to. She seems to be somewhat brainwashed into thinking that it’s better for her not to say anything, and that instead of communication bringing clarity and understanding, her words will bring "disagreement and confusion."