Their Eyes Were Watching God

by: Zora Neale Hurston

Mrs. Turner

Characters Mrs. Turner

Mrs. Turner is proud and prejudiced, flaunting her Caucasian features and condescending anyone with a more African appearance. Mrs. Turner takes a shine to Janie because of Janie’s light skin and physical beauty, believing Janie to be better than others because she is “whiter.” Mrs. Turner believes heaven to be entirely composed of “straight-haired, thin-lipped, high-nose boned white seraphs.” She avoids Tea Cake because she disdains his dark skin and tries to match Janie with her lighter-skinned brother. Mrs. Turner represents the cruelty and delusion that comes from idolizing physical characteristics, and how this devotion turns ordinary people into either gods to worship or fiends to demonize. Beyond that, Mrs. Turner also serves as a reminder that prejudice exists within the black community, not just outside of it.