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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Mortality Quotes

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

Quote #4

So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things…She knew that God tore down the old world every morning and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman. (3.31)

The end of the "bloom time" and "green time" and "orange time" are ends of separate seasons and signals a sort of mini-death throughout the year. Hurston implies that at the end of each season, Janie feels another little part of her faith die. Finally a year later, her dream of true love is completely dead. Ironically, however, Hurston hints that experience with death is a prerequisite for becoming a mature woman. Thus, the death of her dream is the beginning of her womanhood. So a key point to remember is: new beginnings are often tied to death in this novel.

Quote #5

[Logan to Janie:] "Don’t you change too many words wid me dis mawnin’, Janie, do Ah’ll take and change ends wid yuh. Heah, Ah just as good as take you out de white folks’ kitchen and set you down on yo’ royal diasticutis and you take and low-rate me! Ah’ll take holt uh dat ax and come in dere and kill yuh! [...] God damn yo’ hide!" (4.57)

To Logan, Janie’s lack of respect for him is cruel enough to merit death. A woman talking so directly back to him and contradicting his commands is unthinkable for him. This shows just how conservative are the morals Logan lives under. Of course, his death threat may also be insincere, simply an outburst of uncontrollable emotion. Either way, they do foreshadow a sort of upcoming death for Janie—the death of her innocence and her first marriage.

Quote #6

But after a while he [the yellow mule] died. Lum found him under the big tree on his rawbony back with all four feet up in the air. That wasn’t natural and it didn’t look right, but Sam said it would have been more unnatural for him to have laid down on his side and died like any other beast. He had seen Death coming and had stood his ground and fought it like a natural man. He had fought it to the last breath. Naturally he didn’t have time to straighten himself out. Death had to take him like it found him. (6.63)

This passage seems to foreshadow Joe Starks’ death. Just as the yellow mule isn’t a normal animal, Joe isn’t just your average human. Therefore, it wouldn’t be natural for either to die in a peaceful, regular position. The mule dies fighting, with its legs rigid and in the air. Joe dies fighting, too; he refuses to believe he’s dying, argues with and curses Janie, and dies with an unnatural look on his face and his hands "in protest."

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