Study Guide

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 14

By Zora Neale Hurston

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Chapter 14

(Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Janie and Tea Cake arrive in the Everglades, and Tea Cake immediately finds employment with the "right folks"—those who plan to plant a lot of beans. Then, they acquire a house, which is really a shack for migrant workers, but Janie makes it a home.
  • Because there is nothing else to do, Tea Cake and Janie go hunting. Tea Cake teaches Janie to shoot, and she eventually becomes a better shot than he.
  • Migrant workers finally begin arriving in hordes. Though they don’t have housing and instead camp out by fires, the workers make a lively scene with their banjos and jook houses. (See Hurston’s definition of a jook joint.) They all make good money, farming out in the fertile muck of the bean fields.
  • Janie stays at home cooking beans and keeping house while Tea Cake works in the fields. Eventually, Tea Cake starts coming back at strange hours of the day when he should be working. Janie asks him about it, suspecting that he doesn’t trust her being alone all day, but he refutes it, saying he comes home because he misses her badly. He asks her to come work with him and relieve his loneliness.
  • Janie agrees, and it turns out well. It shows the rest of the people that Janie is not too stuck up to work with the rest of them. Everyone enjoys the capers Janie and Tea Cake pull behind the boss’ back. They become great favorites in the little community.
  • Now that Janie is working during the day, Tea Cake even helps her make supper in the evenings.
  • Janie reflects happily on her situation and considers what Eatonville would think of her now, mucking around in the fields with Tea Cake and all the migrant workers. She laughs at the thought and rejoices in her freedom.
  • The chapter closes with a scene of three of the migrant workers playing cards, illustrating all of the fun that all of the workers have together, and Janie’s contentment.

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