Describe Mrs. Turner and her attitude towards black folk in Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Mrs. Turner is a light skinned black woman who can pass for white.  She despises her black features, and embraces her white features, such as her thin nose and lips.  It is Mrs. Turner's belief that white people would be accepting of light skinned black people if the darker blacks did not act so loud and vulgar.

She also believes that dark blacks are ignorant.  She has a distinct prejudice toward dark blacks and she tries to convince Janie to marry her brother.  She feels that if light blacks married white people or light skinned blacks that they would be more accepted by white people.

Mrs. Turner does everything that she can to avoid contact with the black community, she won't shop in black stores. She despises how they laugh, how they act rowdy and uncivilized.

dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Mrs. Turner is a light-skinned mulatto who is described as "a milky sort of woman...her shoulders rounded a little, and she must have been conscious of her pelvis because she kept it stuck out in front of her".  Her lips were thin and her mouth was wide and flat, her chin and pointed nose almost meeting.  Mrs. Turner is proud of her features, feeling they set her apart from the darker people of her race.  Her attitudes about Negroes are completely racist; she looks down upon and even despises those whose skin is blacker than hers.  She befriends Janie because Janie's skin is light, and can't believe that Janie married a man as dark as Tea Cake of her own free will.  Janie is uncomfortable around Mrs. Turner, and Tea Cake hates her, because in her bigotry Mrs. Turner has the audacity to try to break up their marriage by introducing Janie to her brother (Chapter 16).


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