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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #10

From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them. (4.59)

Janie sees this moment of abandoning Logan and eloping with Joe as a moment of rebirth. This rebirth requires coining of "new words" so that Janie never has to be tied down by language referring back to her unhappy times with Logan and Nanny.

Quote #11

On the train the next day, Joe didn’t make many speeches with rhymes to her, but he bought her the best things the butcher had, like apples and a glass lantern full of candies. Mostly he talked about plans for the town when he got there […] (5.1)

Unlike Logan, Joe does not start off his marriage by "mak[ing] many speeches with rhymes" to Janie, or embellishing a love that isn’t sincere. His words are directed towards his destination (Eatonville) and plans for the future, which reveals his ambition but not his emotions. Joe isn’t communicative about their relationship at the beginning of the marriage – he seems to think that objects and gifts are all that Janie needs – and this trend continues throughout their entire marriage. Since Joe gives gifts instead of communication, he never is showing his emotions or heart to Janie, or letting her reveal her inner self either.

Quote #12

"Shucks!" said Hicks. "Mah britches is just as long as his. But dat wife uh hisn! Ah’m uh son of uh Combunction if Ah don’t go tuh Georgy and git me one just like her."

"Whut wid?"

"Wid mah talk, man."

"It takes money tuh feed pretty women. Dey gits uh lavish uh talk."

"Not lak mine. Dey loves to hear me talk because dey can’t understand it. Mah co-talkin’ is too deep. Too much co to it."

"Umph!" (5.19-24)

Hicks has great confidence in his ability to talk to women and convince them to fall for him. He sees language as a manipulative key to getting women. According to Hicks, getting women isn’t the actual content of the language. So he’s consciously manipulative and belittling with his language, assuming that women don’t understand his clever use of words and stupidly fall for a man because he uses impressive language.

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