“So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment” (1).
“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Jane’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (24).
“The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place. She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair” (83).
“Now she was her sacrificing self with Tea Cake’s head in her lap. She had wanted him to live so much and he was dead” (175).
“Janie Woods, the relic of Tea Cake’s Janie” (176).
“Nanny’s head and face looked like the standing roots of some old tree that had been torn away by storm” (12).
“’So you don’t want to marry off decent like, do yuh? You just wants to hug and kiss and feel around with first one man and then another, huh? You wants to make me suck de same sorrow yo’ mama did, eh?’”(13).
“’Honey de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as ah been able tuh find out. Maybe it’s some place way off in de ocean where de black man is in power, but we don’t know nothin’ but what we see. So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up’” (14).
“’De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as ah can see. Ah been prayin’ fuh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, lawd, lawd!’” (14).
“’Don’t think ah don’t feel wid you, Janie, ‘cause ah do. Ah couldn’t love you no more if ah had uh felt yo’ birth pains mahself’” (15).
“’And Ah can’t die easy thinkin’ maybe de men folks white or black is makin’ a spit cup outa you: have some sympathy fuh me’” (19).
“She hated the old woman who had twisted her so in he name of love” (85).
“‘Brother Logan Killicks. He’s a good man, too.’ ‘Naw, nanny, no ma’am! Is dat whut he been hangin’ round here for? He look like some ole skull head in de grave yard’” (13).
“The vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but Janie didn’t know how to tell Nanny that” (13).
“In the few days to live before she went to Logan Killicks and his often mentioned sixty acres, Janie asked inside of herself and out. She was back and forth to the pear tree continuously wondering and thinking” (20).
“’Ah could throw ten acres of it over de fence every day and never look back to see where it fell. Ah feel de same way ‘bout Mr. Killicks too. Some folks never was meant to be loved and he’s one of ‘em’”(22).
“’His belly is too big too, now, and his toe nails look like mule feet every evenin’ before he comes tuh bed. ‘Taint nothing tuh hinder him ‘cause Ah places de water for him. Ah’d rather be shot wid tacks than tuh turnover in de bed and stir up de air whilst he is dere. He don’t even never mention nothin’ pretty’” (23).
“Long before the year was up, Janie noticed that her husband had stopped talking in rhymes to her” (25).
“’Don’t you change too many words wid me dis mawnin’, Janie, do Ah’ll take and change ends wid yuh! Heah, Ah just as good as take yuh out de white folks’ kitchen and set you down on yo’ royal diasticutis and you take and low-rate me! Ah’ll take holt uh dat ax and came in dere and kill yuh!’” (30).
JODY “JOE” STARKS
“It was a citified, stylish dressed man with his hat set at an angle that didn’t belong in these parts” (26).
“’Joe Starks was the name, yeah Joe Starks from in and through Georgy’” (27).
“’Janie, if you think Ah aims to tole you off and make a dog outa you, youse wrong. Ah wants to make a wife outa you’” (28).
“On the train the next day, Joe didn’t make many speeches with rhymes to her but he bought her the best things the butcher had like apples and a glass lantern full of candies. Mostly he talked about plans for the town when he got there. They were bound to need somebody like him” (32).
“That was because the mayor didn’t just take it out of the crate and stick it up on a post. He unwrapped it and had it wiped off carefully and put it upon a showcase for a week for everybody to see” (41).
“’Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no speech-makin;, Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home’” (41).
“’…I god, Ah ain’t even started good. Ah told you in de very first beginnin’ dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad, ‘cause dat makes uh big woman outa you’” (43).
“’Abraham Lincoln, he had de whole United States tuh rule so he freed de negroes. You got uh town so you freed a mule. You have tuh have power tuh free things and dat makes you lak uh king uh something’” (55).
“Joe wasn’t so young as he used to be. There was already something dead about him” (73).
“Joe got too weak to look after things and to his bed” (79).
“Times and scenes like that put Janie to thinking about the inside state of her marriage. Time came when she fought back with her tongue as best she could. But it didn’t do her any good. It just made Joe do more, He wanted her submission and he’d keep fighting until he felt he had it” (67).
“’You changes everything but nothing don’t change you—not even death’” (82).
“The icy sword of the square-toed one had cut off his breath and his hands in az pose of agonizing protest” (83).
VERGIBLE “TEA CAKE” WOODS
“’They don’t need to worry about me and my overhalls long as Ah still got mine hundred dollars in the bank. Tea Cake got me wearing ‘em—following behind him. Teac 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’” (7).
“He set it up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play. That was even nice. She looked him over and got little thrills from everyone of his good points” (91-92).
“Those full, lazy eyes with the lashes curling sharply away like drawn scimitars. The lean, over-padded shoulders and narrow waist. Even nice!” (92).
“’Tea Cake! So you sweet as all dat?’” (93).
“Tea Cake wasn’t strange. Seemed as if she had known him all her life. Look how she had been able to talk with him right off!” (94).
“Janie wanted to ask Hezekiah about Tea Cake, but she was afraid he might misunderstand her and think she was interested. In the first place he looked too young for her. Must be around twenty-five and here she was around forty” (96).
“So Tea Cake hurried on back to his new wife. He had done found out how rich people feel and he had a fine guitar and twelve dollars left in his pocket and all he needed now was a great big old hug and kiss from Janie” (118).
“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 with 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” (157).
“’You don’t have tuh say. If it wasn’t fuh me, baby, cause Ah’m heah, and then Ah want yuh tuh know it’s uh man heah’” (159).
“’Ah’m goin’ out and look around and see what we kin do. Ah’ll give anything uh fair trial’” (161).
“’Janie, Ah done went through everything tuh be good tuh you and it hurt me tuh mah heart tuh be ill treated lak Ah is’” (174).
“Then the band played, and Tea Cake rode like a Pharoah to his tomb” (189).
“’Ah takes dat flattery offa you, Pheoby, ‘cause Ah know it’s from de heart’” (4).
“Phoeby eager to feel and do through Janie, but hating to show her zest for fear it might be thought mere curiosity. Janie full of that oldest human longing—self revelation” (6).
“[…]she went straight to her bosom friend, Pheoby Watson” (78).
“’Ah’d rather be dead than for Jody tuh think Ah’d hurt him,’ she sobbed to Pheoby” (78).
“’Lawd!’ Pheoby breathed out heavily, “Ah done growed ten feet higher jus’ from listenin’ tuh you, Janie. Ah ain’t satisfied with myself no mo’’” (182).
“When she arrived at the place, Phoeby Watson didn’t go in by the front gate and down the palm walk to the front door. She walked around the fence corner and went in the intimate gate with her heaping plate of mulatto rice. Janie must be around that side. She found her sitting on the steps of the back porch with the lamps all filled and the chimney’s cleaned” (4).
“She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight” (11).
“The store itself was a pleasant place if only she didn’t have to sell things. When the people sat around the porch and passed around the pictures of their thoughts for others to look at and see, it was nice” (32).
“Take for instance that new house of his. It had two stories with porches, with banisters and such things. The rest of the town looked like servants quarters surrounded the ‘big town’” (44).
“The room inside looked like the mouth of an alligator gaped wide open to swallow something down. Outside the window Jacksonville looked like it needed a fence around it to keep it from running out on either’s bosom” (113).
“They rattled nine miles in a borrowed car to the quarters that squatted so close that only the dyke separated them from great, sprawling Okechobee” (124).
“’Love is lak de sea. It’s a moving’ thing, but still and it takes its shapes from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore’” (182).
“It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long” (1).
“’Ah ast the Lawd when you was uh infant in mah arms to let me stay here till you got grown. He done spared me to see de day. Mah daily prayer now is tuh let dese golden moments rolls on’” (14).
“So he picked ou the eyes in the ceremonial way and the feast went on. The yaller mule was gone from the town except for the porch talk, and for the children visiting his bleaching bones now and then in the spirit of adventure” (58).
“’Great God from Zion!’ Sam Watson gasped. ‘Y’all really playin’ the dozens tonight’” (75).
“’How about playin’ you some checkers? You looks hard tuh beat’” (91).
“They (the ‘saws’) quit hiding out to hold their dances when they found that their American friends didn’t laught at them as they feared” (146).
“The white part of the room got calmer the more serious it got, but a tongue storm struck the Negroes like wind among palm trees” (177).
“The undertaker did a handsome job and Tea Cake slept royally on his white silken couch among the roses she had bought. He looked almost ready to grin. Janie bought him a brand new guitar and put it in his hands. He would be thinking up new songs to play to her when she got there” (180).
NATURE AND ANIMAL IMAGERY
“The people saw her come because it was sundown. The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky” (1).
“These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyelss conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins” (1).
“She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight” (10).
“With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen…Where were the singing bees for her?” (11).
“’De noise uh de owls skeered me; de limbs of dem cypress trees took to crawlin’ and movin’ round after dark, and two three times Ah heered panthers prowlin’ round. But nothin’ never hurt me ‘cause de Lawd knowed how it was’” (18).
“From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom” (10).
“She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture ether” (24).
“She must look on herself as the bell-cow, the other woman were the gang” (39).
“Every morning the world flung itself over and exposed the town to the sun. So Janie had another day” (48).
“A circle, a swoop and a hop with spread-out wings. Close in, close in till some of the more hungry or daring perched on the carcass” (57).
“So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day” (95).
“A little seed of fear was growing into a tree” (130).
“Dodging flying missiles, floating dangers, avoiding stepping in holes and warmed on the wind now at their backs until they gained comparatively dry land” (153).
He dared not to step left for a large rattlesnake was stretched full length with his head in the wind” (156).
“They passed a dead man in a sitting position on a hammock entirely surrounded by wild animals and snakes. Common danger made common friends. Nothing sought a conquest over the other” (157).
“The dog stood up and growled like a lion, stiff-standing hackles, stiff muscles, teeth uncovered as he lashed up his fury for the charge” (157).
“The palm tree dance began again among the Negroes in the back” (177).
“She saw him coming from the outhouse with a queer loping gait, swinging his head from side to side and his jaws clenched in a funny way” (174).
“The seeds reminded Janie of Tea Cake more than anything else because he was always planting things […] Now that she was home, she meant to plant them for remembrance” (182).
“Then Tea Cake came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees” (183).
Personification: “The people all saw her come because it was sundown. The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky” (1). “A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song” (2). “The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel” (153).
Simile: “Janie saw her life like a great tree leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches” (8). “’Fifteen dollars? I god you’se as crazy as uh betsy bug!’” (54).
Frame story: “’Ah know exactly what Ah got to tell yh, but it’s hard to know where to start at. Ah ain’t never seen mah papa. And Ah didn’t know ‘im if Ah did. Mah mama neither. She was gone from round dere long before Ah wuz big enough to know. Mah grandma raised me’” (8).
Metaphor: “’Put me down easy, Janie, Ah’m a cracked plate’” (19).
Figurative Language: “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” (35).
Dialect: “’Jody, dat wuz uh mighty fine thing fuh you tuh do’” (55).
Biblical allusion/symbol: “He spoke of the joys of mule-heaven to which the dear brother had departed this valley of sorrow; the mule-angels flying around; the miles of green corn and cool water, a pasture of pure bran with a river of molasses running through it; and most glorious of all, no Matt Bonner with plow lines and halters to come in and corrupt” (57).
Hyperbole: “’[…] and now he’s more’n uh million years old’” (62).
Animal imagery: “A thousand buzzards held a flying meet and then went above the clouds and stayed” (147).
Symbol (bullet): “’[…] a devoted wife trapped by unfortunate circumstances who really in firing a rifle bullet into the hart of her late husband did a great act of mercy’” (179).
Extended metaphor/simile: “Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder” (184).
"spoken in echoes" Phoebe, Janie and Hurston woven together
characterization is rich
dialect and dialogue, speakers aren't always noted
elegant words used to describe simple things
narrator plays a significant role
narrator: formal, educated, literate, figurative language, statements or aphorisms