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Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes from the Iconic Novel

These Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes will help you to think deeper about the role love plays in our lives and how we show and receive it.

Dave Chapelle once joked that it is always difficult to be the first African American to breach any field and achieve excellence.

Nora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937, making her one of the first published African American female voices of the twentieth century.

Hurston’s novel is an important piece of American literature. Her genius as a writer revolutionized the game as it was extremely uncommon for Black female writers to get published, and rare for their work to contain Black women as the heroines and main characters.

She was penning complex and rich narratives of Black women and relationships sixty years before Sex and the City, Living Single or Girlfriends. This is a novel about a woman’s search for love and the journey she took to find it.

These fifty Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes address everything from love, gender, mortality, creativity, appearances, connectivity, relationships, and a wide range of topics.

Don’t forget to also check out these Beloved quotes to inspire faith and transformation.

Important quotes from Their Eyes Were Watching God

1. “They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”

2. “Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.”

3. “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

4. “Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

5. “It was not death she feared. It was misunderstanding.”

6. “Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”

7. “She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.”

8. “She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.”

9. “He looked like the love thoughts of women.”

10. “She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.”

Famous Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes

11. “It was the meanest moment of eternity.”

12. “Things lak dat (age) got uh whole lot tuh do wid convenience, but it ain’t got nothin’ tuh do wid love.”

13. “An envious heart makes a treacherous ear. They done ‘heard’ bout just what they hope done happened.”

14. “He could be a bee to a blossom—a pear tree blossom in the spring”.

15. “She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop.”

16. “But any man who walks in the way of power and property is bound to meet hate.”

17. “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.”

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18. “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ’bout no speech-makin’.”

19. “You done lived wid me for twenty years and you don’t half know me atall.”

20. “The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes and passages

21. “…she starched and ironed her face, forming it into just what people wanted to see…”

22. “It is so easy to be hopeful in the daytime when you can see the things you wish on. But it was night, it stayed night.”

23. “Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!”

24. “No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.”

25. “Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the

shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”

26. “The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall.

27. “There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.”

28. “She called in her soul to come and see.”

29. “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.”

30. “Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes

31. “She knew things that nobody ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. .. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether.

32. “Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

33. “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.”

34. “If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all.”

35. “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 same 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.”

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36. “She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making.”

37. “All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise, they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering, men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.”

38. “It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.”

39. “When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still, he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks makes them hunt for one another.”

40. “She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop.”

Other famous Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes and lines

41. “Then you must tell ’em dat love ain’t somethin’ lak uh grindstone dat’s de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch.”

42. “You don’t know half as much ’bout us as you think you do. It’s so easy to make yo’self out God Almighty when you ain’t got nothin’ tuh strain against but women and chickens.”

43. “‘You know, honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways. You in particular. Ah was born back due in slavery so it wasn’t for me to fulfill my dreams of whut a woman oughta be and to do . . . Ah wanted to preach a great sermon about colored women sittin’ on high, but they wasn’t no pulpit for me.'”

44. “‘Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves.'”

45. “‘When you pull down yo’ britches, you look lak de change uh life.'”

46. “Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss.”

47. “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.”

48. “She had never thought of making a speech and didn’t know if she cared to make one at all. It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that night feeling cold. He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her thoughts.”

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49. “Besides she liked being lonesome for a change. This freedom feeling was fine. These men didn’t represent a thing she wanted to know about.”

50. “‘So Ah’m back home again and Ah’m satisfied to be heah. Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons.'”

Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes that will expand your mind

51. “Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.” 

52. “Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them.”

53. “Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”

54. “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.”

55. “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. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”

What did you learn from these Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes?

We live in a world where her story is often overlooked and the accomplishments of Black women are purposefully obscured.

Unfortunately, much of Zora’s work was passed over during her active years as a writer. Hurston was ahead of her time, and the majority of the acknowledgment and recognition she received was offered posthumously.

It is well known that fellow legendary writer Alice Walker literally searched and found Hurston’s unmarked grave and helped reintroduce her work in the 1970s. Her legacy serves as a testament to the efforts and determination of Black women, while also demonstrating how the hurdles of misogyny and xenophobia may interfere, but they cannot stop determined women.

In the face of all of the obstacles, Hurston was able to carve a lane for herself as one of our nation’s skilled writers and a proud voice for Black women during a time where their voice was silenced.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes and lines? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Clifton Sankofa
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