By Yana KrasnolutskaSat. 18 May. 20243min Read

Full Review: Summary of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Discover the timeless classic Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, a profound tale of love, identity, and self-discovery in the American South.
Full Review: Summary of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Just finished Zora Neale Hurston's masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I'm eager to dive into a recap for anyone who might have veered off course! But caution: spoilers abound for the entirety of Janie's profound and transformative journey!


Summary of Their Eyes Were Watching God


Their Eyes Were Watching God book cover

  • Book Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Author: Zora Neale Hurston

  • Year Published: January 1, 1937

  • Goodreads Rating: 3.98/5 

  • Availability: Purchase it from Amazon


Janie Crawford, an African-American woman in her early forties, returns to Eatonville, Florida, and recounts her life story to her friend Pheoby. Janie's journey begins with her childhood, being raised by her grandmother, Nanny, who is determined to secure a better future for her. To protect Janie from the hardships she endured, Nanny arranges for her to marry Logan Killicks, a wealthy but unloving farmer.

Unhappy in her marriage to Logan, Janie leaves him for Joe "Jody" Starks, an ambitious man who promises to treat her like a queen. They move to Eatonville, where Joe becomes the town's mayor, storekeeper, and postmaster. However, Janie's hopes for love and respect are dashed as Joe becomes increasingly controlling and silences her voice. After enduring years of oppression, Joe falls ill and dies, leaving Janie with newfound independence and the store to manage.

Janie's life takes a turn when she meets Tea Cake, a charming and adventurous younger man. Despite their age difference and the town's gossip, Janie marries Tea Cake and follows him to the Everglades, where they work together and find happiness. Their relationship is tested by challenges such as a devastating hurricane and Tea Cake's jealousy and illness.


How Did Their Eyes Were Watching God End?

Tragically, Tea Cake contracts rabies from a dog bite and, in a delirious rage, tries to kill Janie. In self-defense, Janie shoots and kills him, leading to a heart-wrenching trial where she is ultimately acquitted.

Returning to Eatonville, Janie reflects on her journey of self-discovery, love, and loss. She finds peace in her memories and the realization that she has lived fully and independently. The novel concludes with Janie finding solace in her experiences and her connection to the world around her, symbolized by the horizon she has always sought.

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