Their Eyes Were Watching God

How do Tea Cake, Janie, and the others regard God in this chapter? If God were a person what would he look like to them? Draw on the important quotations from the chapter such as "They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."

Chapter 18

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This chapter emphasizes the wisdom of people who watch nature and God. The Indians realize first that the hurricane is coming, but Tea Cake dismisses them in a stereotypical anglocentric capitalist manner. He believes that the Indians are wrong because they have "always been wrong." Why else would they have lost their land? Tea Cake does not realize that he too at last has become too dependent on money. He does not want to leave because he does not want to lose any potential earnings. Hurston is commenting that American blacks are too far removed from their roots and the need to watch God and the messages he sends them. The people who are closest to nature (the Indians and the Bahamans) understand God's ways and signals. The blacks and the whites are removed from perceiving God because they are too concerned about money.

Only when God's fury and power are literally knocking down their front door do Tea Cake and Janie "watch God."