Their Eyes Were Watching God

by: Zora Neale Hurston

Chapters 17–18

1

“Janie is wherever Ah wants tuh be. Dat’s de kind uh wife she is and Ah love her for it. Ah wouldn’t be knockin’ her around. Ah didn’t wants whup her last night, but ol’ Mis’ Turner done send for her brother tuh come bait Janie in and take her away from me. Ah didn’t whup Jane ‘cause she done nothin’. Ah beat her tuh show dem Turners who is boss.”

2

“How kin you set and see yo’ wife all trompled on? … It’s a good thing mah brother wuzn’t around heah when it happened do he would uh kilt somebody. Mah son too. Dey got some manhood about ‘em. We’se goin’ back tuh Miami where folks is civilized.” Nobody told her right away that her son and brother were already on their way after pointed warnings outside the café. No time for fooling around. They were hurrying into Palm Beach.

3

By the time people left the fields the procession was constant. Snakes, rattlesnakes began to cross the quarters. The men killed a few, but they could not be missed from the crawling horde. People stayed indoors until daylight. Several times during the night Janie heard the snort of big animals like deer. Once the muted voice of a panther. Going east and east.

4

They looked back. Saw people trying to run in raging waters and screaming when they found they couldn’t. . . . Ten feet higher and as far as they could see the muttering wall advance before the braced-up waters like a road crusher on a cosmic scale. The monstropolous beast had left his bed. The two hundred miles an hour wind had loosened his chains…. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel.

5

Tea Cake rose out of the water at the cow’s rump and seized the dog by the neck. But he was a powerful dog and Tea Cake was over-tired. So he didn’t kill the dog in one stroke as he had intended. But the dog couldn’t free himself either. They fought and somehow he managed to bite Tea Cake high up on his cheek-bone once. Then Tea Cake finished him and sent him to the bottom to stay there.”