Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 1: Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Chapter 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. According to the book, what has the woman come back from doing?

2. Why did all the people see her come?

3. What do they remember about the woman?

4. What do the men notice about Janie as she walks down the street, and what do the women notice about her?

5. What does Pheoby bring for Janie?

6. What is Janie doing as Pheoby walks in?

7. According to Sam Watson, why do the residents of Eatonville want to rise on Judgment Day?

8. Why does Sam want to rise as well?

9. Does Janie intend to tell the residents of Eatonville what happened while she was gone?

10. What does Janie mean when she says “unless you see de fur, a mink skin ain’t no different from a coon hide?”

1. The woman has come back from “burying the dead.”

2. Everyone could see the woman because the sun was going down, and everyone had finished work and was sitting outside.

3. They remember the envy they felt when she left.

4. The men notice her beautiful body and long hair, while the women notice her filthy clothes.

5. Pheoby brings a plate of mulatto rice for Janie.

6. Janie is soaking her feet in a pan of water.

7. Judgment Day is supposedly the day when all the secrets will be made known. Sam thinks that all of Eatonville goes to church just so that they can rise to Heaven and have something new to talk about.

8. Sam wants to find out who stole his corn-cob pipe.

9. Janie only intends to tell Pheoby because “tain’t worth de trouble” to tell anyone else.

10. Janie starts to tell her story to Pheoby, but she tells it in such a disorderly fashion that Pheoby has a hard time understanding her. Janie decides that “tain’t no use in me telling you somethin’ unless Ah give you de understanding to go ’long wid it.” The skin of a mink and a (rac)coon are the same without the fur. Janie meant that it is hard to know something if you don’t know the complete picture.