Illustration of the profile of Janine Crawford and another person facing each other

Their Eyes Were Watching God

by Zora Neale Hurston

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Chapter 2: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why is it hard for Janie to start her story?

2. Why was Janie called Alphabet?

3. Why had Janie been spending so much time underneath the pear tree?

4. Who is the “glorious being” that Janie sees coming up the road?

5. Why is Nanny scared for Janie?

6. Why does Nanny want Janie to marry Logan Killicks?

7. What happened to Nanny’s lover?

8. Why did Nanny run away from the plantation in Savannah?

9. Who was Janie’s father?

10. Why does Nanny call herself a “cracked plate”?

Answers
1. Janie finds it hard to begin since her early childhood has been so hard to remember.

2. Everyone had called her so many different names up to that point.

3. Ever since the pear tree began to bloom, “it had called her to come and gaze on a mystery.” Janie is enamored with the tree and loves to sit under it and listen to the bees among the flowers.

4. The “glorious being” is Johnny Taylor, who was “shiftless” in Janie’s “former blindness.”

5. Janie is a woman now, and Nanny feels that Janie will be an easy target for any man who wants to take advantage of her.

6. Nanny wants Janie to marry for “protection.”

7. Nanny’s lover went to fight in the Civil War. Nanny never saw him again.

8. Nanny’s mistress knew about the affair between Nanny and her husband. After the master leaves, the mistress beat Nanny and threatened her with a whipping and the loss of her child. Even though Nanny was weak from her recent childbirth, she was scared to stay on the plantation.

9. Janie’s father was a schoolteacher who had Janie’s mother as a student. He raped Janie’s mother when she was 17.

10. Nanny has had a very difficult life which left her vulnerable and frail. Now that she is old and doesn’t have the strength to fight people, she asks Janie to have mercy on her and marry Logan.

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Chapter 1: Questions and Answers

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Chapter 3: Questions and Answers