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  • Discussion Questions

    Their Eyes Were Watching God

    Junior English Language: Rhetorical Analysis [AP]

    Mr. Sanders

    Chapter 1

    1. How does Pheobys moral code differ from that of the town? Which code is truly moral?

    2. Do you agree with the first two paragraphs of this chapter? Explain why you agree or disagree.

    Chapter 2

    3. From Nannys view, explain and justify the arrangement between Janie and Logan Killicks. 4. What does the pear tree symbolize in this chapter?

    Chapter 3

    5. Describe how Janie comes to the conclusion that marriage did not make love.

    Chapter 4

    6. Could Logan have kept Janie from leaving him if he had truly told her how he felt?

    Chapter 5

    7. Is Joe Starks an admirable man? Why or why not? 8. Hes de wind and wese de grass. We bend which ever way he blows but at dat us needs him.

    De town wouldnt be nothin if it wasnt for him. Sam Watson says that this is the relationship

    between Joe Starks and the town. Do you agree with Sam Watson? Why or why not?

    Chapter 6

    9. Could all of the fighting between Joe and Janie have been avoided? Do you think that Janie could ever be happy with Joe as her husband?

    10. How would you interpret the scene of the buzzards and Matt Bonners mule?

    Chapter 7

    11. Describe the argument between Joe and Janie as if you were a customer in the store who witnessed the entire scene.

    12. Why didnt Janie walk away? (Try to understand Janies position.)

    Chapter 8

    13. Is it too late to feel sorry for Joe? Why or why not? 14. Read Joe and Janies final conversation once again. Why is he so unforgiving of her?

  • Chapter 9

    15. How does the tradition of mourning affect Janies life? Comment on the towns expectations.

    Chapter 10

    16. Do you think this is love at first sight? Should Janie be cautious after two failed marriages? 17. How does Hurston use humor in this chapter?

    Chapter 11

    18. Why does Hezekiah find it necessary to interfere on Janies behalf? Discuss his behavior and look to previous chapters to explain his motivation.

    19. Is Tea Cake being deliberately mysterious? Discuss his nature and his theatrics.

    Chapter 12

    20. How does the towns opinion of Joe Starks change once Janie and Tea Cakes relationship is made public?

    21. Janie says that if Tea Cake loves property, he aint no different from all de rest of us. Do you find this statement to be cynical or common sense? Would Janie have thought this way if she

    didnt marry Joe? Use examples from the novel to support your position.

    Chapter 13

    22. Is Annie Tylers story a cautionary tale? Do you think that we should feel sorry for her? 23. How does Janie react to Tea Cakes confessed commonness? Compare Tea Cakes

    description of himself with Joe Starks.

    Chapter 14

    24. Describe the hierarchy of this society. How are the most important people in this society determined?

    Chapter 15

    25. Discuss how you would have handled the situation with Nunkie if you were Tea Cake. Also discuss the situation as if you were Janie.

    26. How do you think Janie feels in the town now? Does this situation demean Janie or Nunkie in the eyes of the farmers? Explain your answer.

    Chapter 16

    27. How does Mrs. Turners relationship with her husband affect her character? Discuss their roles in their marriage, and compare them to other couples in the chapter.

  • Chapter 17

    28. Why do you think Mr. Turner doesnt interfere at all in the fight in the caf? 29. How do you think this fight affected Mrs. Turner? What will her attitude be about dark-skinned

    blacks in the future?

    Chapter 18

    30. Compare the characterization of the animals in this chapter with previous chapters. How does the strength of the hurricane affect animals, and what is the significance of these symbols?

    31. The line their eyes were watching God is found in this chapter. Why do you think this is the title of the novel?

    Chapter 19

    32. How does the white society of the jury differ from the societies that we have already seen and commented upon? Compare and contrast the courtroom society with the Everglades society.

    33. How is Janies killing of Tea Cake an act of mercy?

    Chapter 20

    34. Do you think that the ending of this novel is happy or tragic? 35. What do you think will happen to Janie?


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