From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Pheoby Watson

Character Analysis

Pheoby Watson is Janie’s best friend and confidante. The entire book is actually the narration of Janie’s life story as told to Pheoby—in theory, without Pheoby's character listening, there would be no story.

Janie values Pheoby for her open ear and nonjudgmental attitude. She's exactly the conduit Janie needs to vent her feelings about Joe Starks, marriage, and Tea Cake. Pheoby, unlike much of Eatonville, defends Janie’s actions and takes a very modern stand—that Janie is her own woman and has a good reason behind all of her actions.

As a friend, Pheoby’s faith is inspiring and probably influences us as readers to see Janie in a positive light. However, Pheoby’s most important function is as a mirror to us. We, as listeners, go along with her on the journey of Janie’s life. Vocab lesson: this type of character—one who listens as the protagonist tells a story—is sometimes called a narratee.

Pheoby Watson Timeline