"Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, Chapters 1-5

March 8, 2013
Considered a seminal work of African-American literature, Their Eyes Were Watching God is notable for its strong and independent female protagonist.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Foreword, Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-20, Afterword
For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.
For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.
She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment.
“Maybe us don’t know into things lak you do, but we all know how she went ’way from here and us sho seen her come back. ’Tain’t no use in your tryin’ to cloak no ole woman lak Janie Starks, Pheoby, friend or no friend.”
“Lawd,” Pearl agreed, “Ah done scorched-up dat lil meat and bread too long to talk about. Ah kin stay ’way from home long as Ah please. Mah husband ain’t fussy.”
She left the porch pelting her back with unasked questions.
An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.
Pheoby eager to feel and do through Janie, but hating to show her zest for fear it might be thought mere curiosity.
He give me every consolation in de world.
Pheoby dilated all over with eagerness, “Tea Cake gone?”
The cooling palma christi leaves that Janie had bound about her grandma’s head with a white rag had wilted down and become part and parcel of the woman.
They diffused and melted Janie, the room and the world into one comprehension.
The vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but Janie didn’t know how to tell Nanny that.
You ain’t hardly old enough to be weaned.
“It takes money tuh feed pretty women. Dey gits uh lavish uh talk.”
They tried hard to hold it in, but enough incredulous laughter burst out of their eyes and leaked from the corners of their mouths to inform anyone of their thoughts.
Anything Ah kin do tuh help out, why you kin call on me.”
“Much obliged.”
“Naw, you wuzn’t, Tony. Youse way outa jurisdiction. You
can’t welcome uh man and his wife ’thout you make comparison about Isaac and Rebecca at de well, else it don’t show de love between ’em if you don’t.”
Some tittered at his ignorance.
Ah means tuh put mah hands tuh de plow heah, and strain every nerve tuh make dis our town de metropolis uh de state.
He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her thoughts.
They cut all sorts of capers and whiffed the meat as it slowly came to perfection with the seasoning penetrating to the bone.
While Davis chanted a traditional prayer-poem with his own variations, Joe mounted the box that had been placed for the purpose and opened the brazen door of the lamp.
They, all of them, all of the people took it up and sung it over and over until it was wrung dry, and no further innovations of tone and tempo were conceivable.
His bulk was not even imposing as men go.
He had a bow-down command in his face, and every step he took made the thing more tangible.
As time went on and the benefits he had conferred upon the town receded in time they sat on his store porch while he was busy inside and discussed him.
The town had a basketful of feelings good and bad about Joe’s positions and possessions, but none had the temerity to challenge him.

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