Their Eyes Were Watching God

by: Zora Neale Hurston

Chapters 1–2

1

Seeing the woman as she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty.

2

“They don’t need to worry about me and my hoverhalls long as Ah still got nine hundred dollars in de bank. Tea Cake got me into wearing ‘em— following behind him. Tea Cake ain’t wasted up no money of mine, and he ain’t left me for no young gal, neither. He give me every consolation in de world. He’d tell ‘em so too, if he was here. If he wasn’t gone.”

3

“De Lawd will provide. He know Ah done bore de burden in the heat uh de day. Somebody done speak to me ‘bout you long time ago. Ah aint said nothin’ ‘cause dat wasn’t de way Ah placed you. Ah wanted yuh to school out and pick from a higher bush and a sweeter berry. But dat ain’t yo’ ideah, Ah see.”

4

“Ah was born back due un slavery so it wasn’t for me to fulfill my dreams of what a woman oughta be and to do. Dat’s one of de hold-backs of slavery. But nothing can’t stop you from wishin’. You can’t beat nobody down so low till you can rob ‘em of they will. Ah didn’t want to be used for a work-ox and a brood-sow and Ah didn’t want mah daughter used that way either.”

5

“Dat school teacher had done hid her in de woods all night long, and he had done raped mah baby and run off just before day. “She was only seventeen, and something’ lak dat to happen!... It was a long time before she was well, and by dat time we knowed you was on de way. And after you was born she took to drinkin’ likker and stayin’out nights… Lawd knows shere she is right now.”