CliffsNotes Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Megan E. Ash | Go to book overview

Chapter 20

Summary

Because the people were so fond of Tea Cake, Janie stays a few more weeks in the Everglades, but home to her is still Eatonville. Thus, she returns from the Everglades in the overalls she wore to work on the muck. Now, the frame of Janie’s story is complete. Pheoby reacts to Janie’s tale by promising herself that she and Sam will spend more time together. Janie’s story has indeed inspired her.


Commentary

After Tea Cake’s funeral, Janie stays in the Everglades, but it is too painful for her there, as the place only reminds her of her beloved husband. Janie gives away everything she owns except for a package of garden seed, a reminder of Tea Cake and his love for planting things. Janie plans to plant the seeds to serve as a symbol of the love and the life that they shared.

Janie’s flashback ends, and the novel returns to Janie’s conversation with Pheoby that began in Chapter 1. It is almost as if Janie’s life story could serve as a lesson both to her dear friend, Pheoby, and to the readers of the novel. In her journey through life, Janie has learned two important lessons: People must “go tuh God,” and they must “find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

Finally, Janie realizes that as long as she lives, the memory of Tea Cake will live within her heart. By the end of the novel, Janie has found the peace that she has desired for her entire life.


Glossary

Love is lak de sea … it’s different with every shore Hurston uses the simile to explain that love is different for everyone who experiences it.

fetid having a bad smell, as of decay; putrid.

commence to begin; start; originate.

-69-

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CliffsNotes Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents iii
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Author 1
  • Introduction to the Novel 11
  • Critical Commentaries 19
  • Chapter 1 20
  • Chapter 2 24
  • Chapter 3 27
  • Chapter 4 29
  • Chapter 5 32
  • Chapter 6 36
  • Chapter 7 41
  • Chapter 8 43
  • Chapter 9 46
  • Chapter 10 48
  • Chapter 11 50
  • Chapter 12 52
  • Chapter 13 54
  • Chapter 14 57
  • Chapter 15 59
  • Chapter 16 60
  • Chapter 17 62
  • Chapter 18 64
  • Chapter 19 66
  • Chapter 20 69
  • Character Analyses 71
  • Critical Essays 81
  • CliffsNotes Review 89
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 93
  • Index 95
  • Notes 101
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