Their Eyes Were Watching God


Chapter 16-Chapter 20

Chapter 16

Janie and Tea Cake stay on in the Everglades after the season ends. Janie gets to know Mrs. Turner. Mrs. Turner has both white and black parentage, like Janie. But unlike Janie, Mrs. Turner only likes the white part. She cannot stand the way Negroes act, so she tells Janie, and the reason she looks up to Janie is that Janie has a lighter complexion.

Mrs. Turner does not care for Tea Cake because he is a very dark Negro. She thinks that all Negroes are always laughing, that they laugh too loud, and that they are not good for much. The whites, however, have class—so she says. Janie disagrees, and Tea Cake tells Mrs. Turner that she makes God look foolish—finding fault with all His creations the way she does.

But Mrs. Turner provides Tea Cake and Janie something to talk about during the off-season months when life around the Everglades becomes dull. Janie tells Mrs. Turner that she loves Tea Cake and would not know what to do with herself if he were ever to go away. Their love is real, and they find happiness in the little, simple things.

Chapter 17

Tea Cake and Janie’s relationship becomes the envy of the new workers when the new season arrives. When Mrs. Turner sends her brother around to bait Janie, Tea Cake beats Janie (ever so slightly) just to show everyone that he is boss. The next day Tea Cake pampers Janie as though he about killed her, and Janie likewise hangs on Tea Cake as though she could do nothing without him. Both men and women are envious.

On Saturday when the workers get paid, a fight breaks out in Mrs. Turner’s place where everyone has gathered to drink. Coodemay and Sterrett and told by Tea Cake to get out. Tea Cake stands up for Mrs. Turner and her establishment and says that no disrespectful people can come in. They wrestle more and make a mess of the entire place until finally Coodemay cries out that he was wrong and that he and Sterrett will buy a drink for everyone at Pahokee. So off...

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