Study Guide

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 20

By Zora Neale Hurston

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Chapter 20

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  • The black community’s anger against Janie is short-lived. They take it out on Mrs. Turner’s brother instead, running him out of the Everglades.
  • Janie stays a few weeks after Tea Cake’s funeral, not because she wants to but because the community begs her to.
  • She gives away everything in her house except a little packet of seeds that reminds her of Tea Cake. She means to plant them when she gets home.
  • At this point, Janie’s story ends. She's back in her house in Eatonville, talking to Pheoby. Janie tells Pheoby that she is home for good and now feels that she has lived a full life.
  • She also gives Pheoby permission to relay her story to Eatonville’s gossipy ladies. Janie urges her friend to tell them love is not a single constant thing, but it is like the sea, shaped by the shores it meets.
  • After listening to Janie’s story, Pheoby doesn’t feel satisfied with her small, isolated life. She wants to spend more time with her husband, Sam. She also assures Janie that she won’t stand for hearing a word spoken against her.
  • Janie advises her friend that experiencing life is the most important thing—going out, living, and finding God. It will not satisfy you to just sit around, talking and listening to tales.
  • After Pheoby leaves, Janie goes upstairs into the bedroom, which is full with memories.
  • She remembers the fateful day of Tea Cake’s death and decides that Tea Cake isn't dead and won't be until Janie herself dies. He helped her see her own limits, her own horizon.
  • The book ends with Janie feeling at peace.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 20 Study Group

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