What is the importance or significance of the closing scene in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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The beginning and end of Their Eyes Were Watching God provide a frame for the novel. At the start, Janie returns to Eatonville, and her former neighbors gossip about her from their porches. She finds her friend Pheoby Watson and proceeds to tell Pheoby her life story. At the end of the novel, Janie's story is finished, and she impresses Pheoby and the reader with her newfound confidence and independence.

Janie remembers the scenes before her return to Eatonville; she and her third husband, Tea Cake, survived a hurricane in the Everglades, but he was bitten by a rabid dog when it tried to attack Janie. He then catches the disease and goes mad. He eventually threatens Janie's life, so she kills him in self-defense. She is put on trial but is exonerated.

The last paragraph of the novel reads:

Then Tea Cake came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees. Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl. Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. 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.

Janie's memories of Tea Cake are joyous; she thinks of him as alive in her heart and her memory. Despite the trauma of his death, she is grateful for her experiences with him.

She feels at "peace" now, in a way she never did when she lived in Eatonville as Joe's wife. When the narrator refers to all of the "life in [the] meshes" of "her horizon like a great fish-net," she implies that Janie is grateful for all of her life experiences. She gathers them around her and they give her comfort. When "She called in her soul to come and see," Janie is reflecting on the life she has just told us about.

The figurative language of the last few lines suggests that Janie is fully comfortable and confident in who she is. This shows tremendous character growth for our protagonist.

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The final scene has both a narrative and thematic relevance to Their Eyes Were Watching God. In narrative terms, the scene functions as the frame to Janie's story which she has just finished telling to her friend Phoeby. Thematically, the scene links back to the underlying motif of the novel, Janie's quest for her self and identity. After she has  told her story to her friend, unpleasant memories take hold of her, reminding her of how she hd to kill her beloved Tea Cake to survive:

The day of the gun, and the bloody body, and the courthouse came and commenced to sing a sobbing sigh out of every corner in the room

Yet, Janie is able to push these away by invoking Tea cake himself who

came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees.

These, together with the final sentence ("Here was peace"), are usually interpreted by critics in an affirmative light: Janie has finally made peace with herself, she is able to control her memories and her own life. Yet, could that be that these lines signify self-deception  and the unfinished nature of Janie's quest? Aren't they creating a grave for her who is now going to live in the memory of the dead Tea Cake, a sort of shroud opposed to "the sun as his shawl" imagery of these final lines? Can't the final sentence "Here was peace" be read as her final words before her own death?

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