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'Their Eyes Were Watching God' Quotes

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Z. Smith Reynolds Library zsrlibrary/ Flickr CC


Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel by Zora Neale Hurston. It's the story of Janie Crawford, who returns home and tells the story of the last 20 years.

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Here are a few quotes from the novel.

  • "These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 1
     
  • "Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 2
     
  • "You know, honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways. You in particular. Ah was born back due in slavery so it wasn't for me to fulfill my dreams of whut a woman oughta be and to do."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 2
     
  • "Ah wanted to preach a great sermon about colored women sittin' on high, but they wasn't no pulpit for me."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 2
     
  • "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think. Ah."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 3
     
  • "Janie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for far horizon. He spoke for change and chance."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 4
     
  • "Thank yuh fuh yo' compliments, but mah wife don't know nothin' 'bout no speech- makin'.. Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's uh woman and her place is in de home."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 5
     
  • "Take for instance that new house of his. It had two stories with porches, with bannisters and such things. The rest of the town looked like servants' quarters surrounding the "big house." And different from everybody else in the town he put off moving in until it had been painted, in and out. And look at the way he painted it - a gloaty, sparkly white."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 5
     
  • "Janie loved the conversation and sometimes she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge. He didn't want her talking after such trashy people."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 6
     
  • "Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don't think none theirselves."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 6
     
  • "Janie did what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 6
     
  • "When you pull down yo' britches, you look lak de change uh life."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 7
     
  • "It was so crazy digging worms by lamp light and setting out for Lake Sabelia after midnight that she felt like a child breaking rules. That's what made Janie like it."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 11
     
  • "He could be a bee to a blossom - a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 11
     
  • "Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 17
     
  • "They huddled closer and stared at the door. They just didn't use another part of their bodies, and they didn't look at anything but the door. The time was past for asking the white folks what to look for through that door. Six eyes were questioning God."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 18
     
  • "Once upon uh time, Ah never 'spected nothin', Tea Cake, but bein' dead from standin' still and tryin' tuh laugh. But you come 'long and made somethin' outa me. So Ah'm thankful fuh anything we come through together.'"
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 18
     
  • "Janie held his head tightly to her breast and wept and thanked him wordlessly for giving her the chance for loving service. She had to hug him tight for soon he would be gone, and she had to tell him for the last time. Then the grief of outer darkness descended."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 19
     
  • "So Ah'm back home agin and Ah'm satisfied tuh be heah. Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons.
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 20
     
  • "Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see."
    - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ch. 20

Study Guide

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