"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men."
The above quotation appears on the first page of Their Eyes Were Watching God. It reflects one of the main points in the novel, that the dreams of men and women are not often expressed similarly, that the wishes of men eaither come in with the tide or sail on the horizon. It is later stated that women often forget the things that they do not want to remember whereas men dwell on their dreams.
"Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches."
This quotation is from the begining of chapter two on page eight of the novel. It corresponds to Janie's love of nature and the world around her though it also foreshadows the rest of the book. Janie makes note of her sufferings and actions throughout the course of the novel and this quotation helps to bring her feelings out for the reader.
"'Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy, Janie, Ah'm a cracked plate.'"
The above quotation appears on page 20 of the novel. At this point in the story, Janie and Nanny, her grandmother, are arguing over Janie's relationships. Nanny has suggested she marry Logan Killicks, a man who is well off, though not respected by Janie. In her own defense, Nanny states that she can no longer care for Janie and only wants her to be well-off.
"Long before the year was up, Janie noticed that her husband had stopped talking in rhymes to her. He had ceased to wonder at her long black hair and finger it."
This quote, from the very begining of chapter four, expresses the failing relationship between Janie and Logan. Janie feels that she is no longer respected by her husband and deserves a romantic relationship. Logan, who forces Janie to constantly work and offers her no reward, no compassion, stops talking to her in rhymes, thus provoking the end of their romance.
"It was a cityfied, stylish dressed man with his hat set at an angle that didn't beling in these parts. His coat was over his arm, but he didn't need it to represent his clothes. The shirt with the silk sleeveholders was dazzling enough for the world. He whistled, mopped his face and walked like he knew where he was going."
This quotation appears on page 27 of the novel. It is Janie's first impression of Jody Starks, the man she leaves Logan Killicks for. Later in the story, we learn that Jody intends to build up a town for profit in both money and power. This first impression proves to be very important because of Jody's ability to appear stylish and well-off. It demonstrates his charm. Janie's reaction to Jody's appearance demonstrats his abilty to manipulate others.
"After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it wat like some high, ruling chair. From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything."
The quotation above, from page 32 of Their Eyes Were Watching God, expresses Janie's inital impression on her new life with Joe Starks. She believes that in leaving Logan she is readying herself for a better lifestyle with a better man. She has come to see Jody as the man she pictured herself with before her first marriage and is ready to begin a simple and happy life with him.
"Janie soon began to feel the impact of awe and envy against her sensibilities. The wife of the Mayor was not just another woman as she had supposed. She slept with authority and so she was part of it in the town mind. She couldn't get but so close to most of them in spirit."
This line can be found on page 46 of the novel. It tells of how Janie is forced to withdraw from the members of Eatonville (the town Jody helped to establish and became the Mayor of) and fill her position as wife of the Mayor. At this point in the novel, Janie begins to notice the flaws in her second marriage to Jody Starks.
"'Naw, Ah ain't no young gal no mo' but den Ah ain't no old woman neither. Ah reckon Ah looks mah age too. But Ah'm uh woman ebery inch of me, and Ah know it. Dat's uh whole lot more'n you kin say. You big-bellies round here and put out a log of brag, but 'tain't nothin' to it but you' big voice. Humph! Talkin' 'bout me lookin' old! When you pull down yo' briches, you look lak de change uh life.'"
This quotation appears on page 79 of Their Eyes Were Watching God. It comes at a point in the story where Jody is begining to feel ashamed of his age. He accuses Janie of being an old woman and she responds wtith the line above. At this point, Jody is also beccoming sick and this chapter of the novel marks the very end of the their romantic relationship.
"'Dis sittin' in de rulin' chair is been hard on Jody,' she muttered out loud. she was full of pity for the first time in years. Jody had been hard on her and others, but life had mishandled him too."
The quotation above is from page 87 of the novel. At this point in the novel, Jody is dead due to kidney failure and Janie is begining to mourn over her husband. The line above goes on to say that Janie would have rather have not been arguing with him during Joe's final moments, as she had. This expresses the idea that the couple fought until the very end.
"'Tain't dat Ah worries over Joe's death, Phoeby. Ah jus' loves dis freedom.'"
From page 93, this quotation expresses Janie's later feelings on Joe's death. She is now wallowing in her freedom and enjoying the time she can now spend alone. She is no longer controled by her husband and can therefore be free.
"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! He tipped his hat at the door and was off with the briefest good night. 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."
This quotation, from page 99, expresses Janie's feelings towards Tea Cake, a man whom she meets not terribly long after Jody's death, and begins to fall in love with. It is implied in Tea Cake's first appearance in the novel that he and Janie will become romantically involved and that Janie will most-likly have more 'luck' with him than she had with other men.
"He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her sould crawled out from its hiding place."
The line above appears on page 128 of the novel. It comes while Tea Cake and Janie are living together and falling deeply in love. It is implied that Janie finally has found out how to thrive in a true relationship. In the same chapter as the above quotation, Tea Cake proposes that he and Janie travel to the muck to live together and Janie accepts.
"To Janie's strange eyes, everything in the Everglades was big and new. Big Lake Okechobee, big beans, big cane, big weeds, big everything."
The above quotation from page 129 represents Janie's first impression of the much, where she and Tea Cake spend their time together. Janie's impression of the Everglades is generally positive and the location seemes to be the perfect place for the couple. The quotation above can also foreshadownt he presence and size of the hurrican that strikes the Everglades later in the book.
"They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might agains His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."
Although this quotation from page 160 of the book applies to the presance of a hurricane, it can also be applied to the rest of the novel, thus the title Their Eyes Were Watching God. This quotation sparks the idea that in our darkest moments, we must keep our eyes on the Lord. One of the major themes in this story is religion and this line seems to wrap up the whole concept of this book.
"It was the meanest moment of eternity. A minute before she was just a scared human being fighting for its life. 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 dad. No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep."
This final quotation, from page 184 of the novel, expresses the pain that Janie felt in shooting Tea Cake, who was bitten by a mad dog during the huricane. Janie was heartbroken by the fact that her lover was ill but she was also forced to defend herself from him.