Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Quote #4

Janie tries to show her faith by praying to God. Her prayer is an attempt to use her free will to beg for his safe return, rather than just sit back and see what the future has in store for her.

Mrs. Turner believes fate works like karma – rewarding those who have worked hard and worshipped harder. She believes her faith alone will render her a fully white woman and admit her into a white Paradise.

Quote #5

[Mrs. Turner to Janie]: "Yo’ husband musta had plenty money when y’all got married."(16.8)

Mrs. Turner assumes that Janie holds similar disdain for black people and admiration for whites, so she assumes that the only way a black man like Tea Cake could win Janie’s hand in marriage is if he had money. Mrs. Turner probably thinks of marriage as a vehicle for increased social status, either by marrying for money or marrying someone with fair skin.

Quote #6

[Mrs. Turner]: "You’se different from me. Ah can’t stand black niggers. Ah don’t blame de white folks from hatin’ ‘em ‘cause Ah can’t stand ‘em mahself. ‘Nother thing, Ah hates tuh see folks lak me and you mixed up wid ‘em. Us oughta class off."

[…]

[Mrs. Turner]: "Look at me! Ah ain’t got no flat nose and liver lips. Ah’m uh featured woman. Ah got white folks’ features in mah face. Still and all Ah got tuh be lumped in wid all de rest. It ain’t fair. Even if dey don’t take us in wid de whites, dey oughta make us uh class tuh ourselves." (16.14-20)

Mrs. Turner thinks that because she and Janie have white blood in them, they inherently belong to a higher class than black people and thus they should "class off." This new class would be of a lower status than the fully white people and higher than the fully black people. Essentially, Mrs. Turner wants every inch up the social ladder she can get. What does she really expect to get from becoming a member of a higher class?

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