To whom does Janie tells the story? What does that person learn from Janie's experience?

Expert Answers
ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Their Eyes Were Watching God," Janie is ostensibly telling the story to her best friend, Pheoby Watson.  The two have not seen each other in quite some time, and Janie not only tells Pheoby the story of where she has been for the last few years, but also the story of her childhood and how she came to be the woman she developed into.

Pheoby learns an awful lot about Janie...she learns that Janie is a resilient and dynamic woman who spent her life searching for real love and suffering with lousy men.  She learns the "behind the scenes" reasons why Janie left Eatonville and how she came to Eatonville in the first place.  She also, perhaps, learns that being being wealthy and having status are not all they are cracked up to be.

Interestingly, the story has some flaws in its narration. It is supposed to be a story where Janie is telling Phoeby about her life and travels, but parts of the story included are instances that Janie wasn't around to hear or see (such as the funeral for the mule, which Janie was not allowed to attend.)  The reader just kind of "goes with the flow" during these moments because it is such a powerful book.