Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Mrs. Turner Quotes
[Mrs. Turner]: "What kinda man is you, Turner? You see dese no count niggers come in heah and break up mah place! How kin you set and see yo’ wife all trompled on? You ain’t no kinda man at all. You seen dat Tea Cake shove me down! Yes you did! You ain’t raised yo’ hand tuh do nothin’ about it." (17.43)
Mrs. Turner castigates Mr. Turner in a rather domineering masculine tone. She accuses him of effeminacy. By her rants, readers can discover what exactly in this novel is considered effeminate in a man – silence and passivity.
[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."
"Us can’t do it. We’se uh mingled people and all of us got black kinfolks as well as yaller kinfolks. How come you so against black?"
"And dey makes me tired. Always laughin! Dey laughs too much and dey laughs too loud. Always singin’ ol’ nigger songs! Always cuttin’ de monkey for white folks. If it wuzn’t for so many black folks it wouldn’t be no race problem. De white folks would take us in wid dem. De black ones is holdin’ us back." (16.14-16)
Mrs. Turner is prejudiced against black people on a scale of darkness; the darker a person is, the more despicable he is to her. Mrs. Turner also seems to define race by skin color; since she is fair skinned, she hopes that she can "class off" and become part of another racial group. Janie, on the other hand, thinks very little of skin color. She points out that black people have a very mixed heritage, so it isn’t about your skin color. Is seems that Janie defines race more by shared culture than shared skin color.
[Mrs. Turner]: "You got mo’ nerve than me. Ah jus’ couldn’t see mahself married to no black man. It’s too many black folks already. We oughta lighten up de race." (16.10)
Mrs. Turner’s hatred for the black race runs so deep that she refuses to marry a black man and she even goes so far as to say that black people should be eliminated. Though she does not state it so bluntly, such is her implication when she suggests that she and Janie should "lighten up de race" by marrying only white men. Doesn’t this make you think of Nazi Germany?