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  • Ms. Kizlyk – English 3B

    Their Eyes Were Watching God Study Guide

    Chapters 1 - 4

    Chapter 1

    1. The main character of the novel is Janie Mae Crawford; what is her situation at the beginning of the novel?

    2. Janie notes that as she returns to her home town, the women are watching her in judgment. What are some of the things that these women are saying? How are they judging Janie?

    3. Why are the women annoyed at Janie, and who defends her?

    4. What does Janie explain about Tea Cake and why she is back in town?

    5. What general information do we learn in the first chapter?

  • 6. What impression to you have of Janie and her situation so far?

    Chapter 2

    1. How does Janie describe her childhood? How did she first discover that she was black?

    2. Why did other children tease Janie, and what was the outcome?

    3. On p. 10, during “a spring afternoon in West Florida, Janie had spent most of the day under a

    blossoming pear tree in the backyard.” How does she describe this experience? Any ideas what this might symbolize?

    4. Why do you think that the author reminds the readers that Janie is only sixteen during this time?

  • 5. What prompts Nanny to talk to Janie about marriage?

    6. Why does Nanny want Janie to marry Logan Killicks and how does Nanny explain this to Janie?

    7. What were some of the hardships that Nanny went through in her younger years?

    Chapter 3

    1. What was Janie's idea of love before she was married? What does this tell us about Janie?

    2. After three months of married life, Janie visits Nanny. Why is Janie upset?

    3. Why does Nanny seem annoyed at Janie during their conversation?

  • 4. How does Janie respond when Nanny brings up the fact that Logan has land?

    5. How does chapter 3 end?

    Chapter 4

    1. How did Janies's and Logan's relationship change?

    2. Describe Joe Starks. What are his plans for himself?

    3. What sorts of things does Joe tell Janie to tempt her to leave Logan and marry him?

  • 4. How does Logan react when Janie mentions that she might leave him? How does he act the next morning?

    5. Why do you think Janie makes the decision to leave Logan and marry Joe? How has her mother and grandmother’s past experiences helped to shape her decision?

    Chapters 5 - 6

    Chapter 5

    1. What do Joe (Jody) and Janie think of Eatonville when they enter the town?

    2. Who is Captain Eaton, and what does Joe want from him? How do the townspeople feel about this?

    3. Describe the party that Joe hosts when his store is finished.

  • 4. What happens when the townspeople ask Janie to make a speech at the party?

    5. How does Janie react to this?

    6. Why does Joe want Janie to run the store? How does Janie react?

    7. How does Joe make a huge production out of the streetlight that he bought?

    8. Describe Joe and Janie’s conversation that evening. Describe Janie’s feelings after this conversation.

    9. How did Joe's position affect Janie's relationship with other town residents? Also, find supporting evidence in the text to show that the townspeople were jealous of Janie and Joe.

  • 10. How do the townspeople seem to view Joe? Find supporting evidence in the text to back up your answers.

    11. How would you describe Joe as a husband and Janie’s second marriage so far?

    Chapter 6

    1. What were some of Janie’s frustrations with working at the store?

    2. Why did Joe force Janie to wear her hair tied up?

    3. What happens when Matt’s mule escapes? What is Janie’s reaction?

  • 4. Why does Joe decide to buy the mule? How do people react to Joe’s purchase?

    5. The mule ends up dying.

    A) How does Joe react to the mule’s death?

    B) Why won’t Joe let Janie attend the funeral?

    C) What are Janie and Joe’s feelings regarding this?

    6. Author Zora Neale Hurston humorously establishes a picture of the Eatonville community in this chapter by including folkloric elements. She paints a vivid picture of the porch-sitters and brings them to life through their stories. She cleverly tells about Matt's mule and the men showing off for Daisy. How are men characterized in these two examples?

  • 7. When Janie is watching and enjoying the antics of Sam, Lige, and the other porch-sitters, how does Joe react when he notices her?

    8. What happened to Joe and Janie's relationship during the seventh year of their marriage?

    9. Why does Joe slap Janie one night? What does Janie realize after this episode?

    10. What was Janie's comment to the men during their conversation about Mrs. Robbins and her begging for food?

    Chapters 7 - 11

    Chapter 7

    1. Janie cuts a plug of tobacco incorrectly at the store one day, and this starts a fight between her and Joe. A) What was the real reason behind the fight?

  • B) How does Janie react during the argument that shocks the others in the store?

    C) Why does Joe hit Janie?

    Chapter 8

    1. How did Joe and Janie act towards each other following their fight in the store?

    2. How did the people visiting Joe treat Janie?

    3. Janie visits Joe before his death.

    A) Explain Joe’s condition when Janie visits him.

    B) What happens during this visit?

  • C) Janie’s first act of liberation after Jody’s death is to release her hair from the shackles of the head-rag. Why does she do this and why do you think she ties her hair back up?

    Chapter 9

    1. What was the only change that people saw in Janie after Joe's funeral?

    2. How does Janie feel about her mother and grandmother at this point in the novel?

    3. What is Janie’s attitude towards her great many suitors?

    4. What does Pheoby tell Janie when they visit? What did Phoeby and the other townspeople think

    Janie should do?

  • 5. What does Janie tell Pheoby about mourning and grief? What does this show about Janie?

    Chapter 10

    1. How did Janie meet Tea Cake?

    2. Describe Tea Cake.

    3. How long does Tea Cake stay with Janie that day?

    Chapter 11

    1. What were the main concerns that Janie had about getting into a relationship with Tea Cake?

  • 2. Describe what happens a week later when Tea Cake shows up.

    3. The evening when Tea Cake brings fish for Janie to fry, how does she try to tell him of her

    concerns? How does he react?

    4. Why did Tea Cake visit Janie early one morning?

    5. What did Tea Cake do that proved his serious intentions toward Janie?

    6. Why does Janie again doubt Tea Cake?

  • Chapters 12 - 15

    Chapter 12

    1. How does everyone react to the new relationship between Janie and Teacake?

    2. Pheoby and Sam Watson are afraid that Janie will turn out like Mrs. Tyler, an old widow who was cheated by a younger man, so Pheoby goes to talk to Janie.

    A) How does Janie defend her relationship with Tea Cake?

    B) What future plans does Janie tell Pheoby that she and Tea Cake have?

    C) How have we seen Janie grow and change with this new relationship? How is this relationship different than hers with Joe?

  • Chapter 13

    1. Summarize Janie and Tea Cake's wedding. 2. Why did Janie decide to bring $200 with her but hide it from Tea Cake?

    3. Things change after one week of marriage.

    A) What did Janie discover one morning about a week after she was married?

    B) How does Tea Cake explain what happened?

    C) How does Janie react to Tea Cake’s explanation?

  • D) How does Tea Cake promise to make things right?

    E) Does Tea Cake’s plan work out?

    4. What agreement do Janie and Tea Cake make about money?

    5. How does Janie seem to feel about Tea Cake after these recent events? Why?

    Chapter 14

    1. Janie and Tea Cake move to the Everglades. A) What is Janie’s impression of the Everglades?

    B) How is their life at the beginning of the chapter?

  • C) What is the atmosphere like when the other workers arrive?

    D) What does Janie think of the migrant workers and the evenings that they share with her and Tea Cake?

    2. Why did Janie start going out to pick beans?

    3. Was Janie resentful about having to do manual labor? Why or why not?

    Chapter 15

    1. Janie learns about jealousy in this chapter.

    A) What does Janie notice about Nunkie’s behavior?

    B) How does Tea Cake seem to respond?

  • C) What happened one day when Tea Cake and Nunkie disappeared?



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