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.

Chapter 2: Questions and Answers

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”?

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.

Chapter 3: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Janie ask herself as the marriage approaches?

2. Who arranges Janie’s wedding ceremony?

3. When Janie asks Nanny for “information” why does Nanny laugh?

4. What does Janie want Nanny to do?

5. What does Nanny mean when she says “bein’ a fool don’t kill nobody. It just makes you sweat”?

6. What doesn’t Janie like about Logan’s appearance?

7. What does Nanny do after Janie leaves her?

8. What is “a bloom time, a green time, and an orange time?”

9. What does she tell the seeds, and why?

10. What “failed” Janie, and what does she do about this?

1. Janie wants to know if marriage will “compel love like the sun the day.” She also hopes that marriage will end her loneliness.

2. Nanny and Mrs. Washburn take care of everything.

3. She guesses that Janie might already be pregnant.

4. She wants Nanny to tell her how to love Logan.

5. According to Nanny, love is what keeps a woman “pullin’ and uh haulin’ and uh sweatin’ and doin’ from can’t see in de mornin’ till can’t see at night.” She considers such behavior foolish, because to her love isn’t realistic, and it is senseless to worry oneself over it.

6. According to Janie, he is too fat, “his toe-nails look lak mule foots,” and he doesn’t wash himself enough.

7. After Janie leaves her, Nanny goes to her shack and prays the entire night.

8. These “times” are the seasons that pass as Janie waits for her marriage to improve.

9. She tells the seeds, “Ah hope you fall on soft ground,” because she had heard seeds say that to each other.

10. Janie looks up the road that passes her gate because “the familiar people and things had failed her.” She looks for something new and exciting to come along and rescue her from this familiarity.

Chapter 4: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Logan treat Janie differently in the months that follow Nanny’s death?

2. What does Janie do when Logan threatens not to chop any wood for her?

3. Why does Logan want an extra mule?

4. Describe Joe as Janie first sees him.

5. As Joe walked down the road, “he acted like Mr. Washburn or somebody like that to Janie.” What does this imply?

6. Why does Joe want Janie to shake her head?

7. What does Janie mean when she says to Logan, “you don’t take nothin’ to count but sow-belly and cornbread”?

8. Why does Logan ask Janie to come to the barn while she is in the middle of cooking breakfast?

9. What does Logan look like with a shovel in his hand?

10. According to Janie, why is Logan mad at her words?

1. Logan has stopped talking in rhyme to her, and he no longer plays with her hair.

2. Janie tells Logan that if he stops chopping wood, she won’t make him any dinner.

3. He wants to have a large potato crop, and expects Janie to help him plow with one of the mules.

4. Joe was “seal-brown,” “cityfied,” and “stylish dressed.” He had on a silk shirt, with his coat hanging from his arm. His hat was worn at an angle, which indicated that he “didn’t belong in these parts.”

5. Joe’s confident stride is something that Janie...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

Chapter 5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Joe buy for Janie as they are traveling to Eatonville?

2. Describe the town as it is when Joe and Janie first arrive.

3. When Joe leaves town for the first time, who stays behind, and why?

4. How does Lee Coker respond to Amos Hicks and his criticism of Janie?

5. How does Hicks respond to Joe’s announcement that he is going to get a post office for Eatonville?

6. Why is Tony Taylor upset at Lige Moss during the party celebrating the store’s grand opening?

7. How does Joe decide to celebrate the arrival of the street lamp?

8. Describe the Starks’ new house.

9. What did the phrase “Our beloved Mayor” mean to the residents of Eatonville?

10. Describe the incident between Henry Pitts and Joe Starks.

1. Joe bought Janie some apples and a candy dish that looked like a lantern.

2. When Janie and Joe first come to Eatonville, they are surprised to find it hardly a town at all. It is described in the novel as a “scant dozen of shame-faced houses scattered in the sand.”

3. Amos Hicks stays behind in order to introduce himself to Janie and offer her any assistance she might need. Janie knows what sort of “assistance” Hicks means and politely refuses.

4. Lee Coker knows that Hicks is pretending that he doesn’t like Janie only to make himself...

(The entire section is 414 words.)

Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Sam tells Matt that his mule is in trouble by the lake. What has supposedly happened with the mule?

2. What does Joe do before he buys the mule?

3. How much does Matt get for the mule?

4. What is Sam and Lige’s argument about?

5. What position does each man hold in this argument, and what proof do they offer?

6. Why are Jim and Dave arguing in the store?

7. How does Joe ruin the argument for Janie?

8. According to Joe, what is the difference between him and Janie?

9. Why does Joe pretend to read the paper when Mrs. Robbins walks in?

10. What does God supposedly tell Janie?

1. The women of the town are washing clothes by the lake and are using the mule’s ribs for a washboard.

2. Joe changes his shoes in order to make Matt wait longer.

3. Matt sells his mule for five dollars.

4. Lige asks Sam if it is caution or nature that keeps a man from sitting on a stove.

5. Lige maintains that caution keeps a man from touching a stove because you have to teach babies not to touch stoves. Therefore, caution is taught and not natural. Sam believes that at the root of everything is nature, and since nature created caution, nature is what keeps a man from hurting himself.

6. They are arguing about who loves Daisy Blunt more.

7. Janie is watching the argument with pleasure, but Joe calls her into the store to wait on Mrs. Bogle.

8. Joe claims that their difference is “When Ah sees one thing Ah understands ten. You see ten things and don’t understand one.” In other words, Janie needs him to work properly, but he doesn’t need her.

9. Everyone in the store is waiting for Mrs. Robbins to plead. Once she does, everyone laughs and Joe begins to humor her.

10. God tells Janie that men will be surprised if they “ever find out you don’t know half as much” about women as they think.

Chapter 7: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What did Janie get from Joe?

2. Explain the following sentence. “She sat and watched the shadow of herself going about tending store and prostrating itself before Jody, while all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair and her clothes.”

3. Why does Joe tell Janie to stop playing croquet?

4. How does Joe look older?

5. What mistake does Janie make in the store?

6. Why do people stop laughing at Joe’s insult of Janie’s body?

7. According to Janie, what has Joe “mixed up”?

8. How does Janie describe herself to Joe?

9. Who starts to tease Joe after...

(The entire section is 352 words.)

Chapter 8: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where does Joe sleep after the fight from the preceding

2. Explain the following sentence: “Well, if she must eat out of a long-handled spoon, she must.”

3. Since Joe is refusing to see Janie, who is cooking and cleaning for him?

4. What does Pheoby advise Janie to do about the rumor that she is poisoning her husband?

5. What does Pheoby know about the medicine man who started the rumor about Janie?

6. What medical problem does Joe have?

7. Describe the character of Death.

8. Joe claims that Janie never had sympathy for him. Does Janie agree?

9. What does Janie want Joe to do before he...

(The entire section is 303 words.)

Chapter 9: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What song does the Elks band play during Joe’s funeral?

2. Why is Janie content to keep things as they are for now?

3. What does Janie do during the evenings?

4. Why does Janie consider returning to where she came from?

5. How long has Joe been dead when Ike Green proposes to help Janie?

6. How does Janie get rid of Ike Green?

7. How long does Janie wear black?

8. How does Hezekiah become more like Joe?

9. How do the townspeople treat Janie after she starts to wear white?

10. Who is pressuring Pheoby to introduce him to Janie?

1. The band plays the song...

(The entire section is 284 words.)

Chapter 10: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. At what time does Tea Cake come into the store?

2. What does Tea Cake buy at the store?

3. Does Janie like checkers?

4. Why does Janie complain about their game?

5. How does Tea Cake intend to get home?

6. Why didn’t Tea Cake tell Janie his name until she asks for it?

7. How does Janie joke about his nickname?

8. What is “knuckle puddin’”?

9. What name does Janie call Tea Cake, and how does he like this name?

10. What does Janie do after Tea Cake walks away?

1. Tea Cake comes into the store at five-thirty.

2. Tea Cake buys a pack of...

(The entire section is 249 words.)

Chapter 11: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Tea Cake tell Janie to have another Coca-Cola?

2. Where do Janie and Tea Cake go fishing?

3. How is Tea Cake prepared to play with Janie’s hair?

4. What kind of fish does Tea Cake catch for Janie?

5. What does Janie wish about herself?

6. How much does Tea Cake want to bet Janie that he loves her?

7. Why does Tea Cake wake Janie up a couple of days after their fight?

8. What is Tea Cake doing in Janie’s hammock?

9. Why does Tea Cake bring a car to Janie’s store?

10. How long has Tea Cake been saving money to take Janie to the picnic?

1. Janie had...

(The entire section is 234 words.)

Chapter 12: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How long has Joe been dead in this chapter?

2. What color does Janie usually wear?

3. What does the Pastor say about Tea Cake?

4. Where does Pheoby stop before she goes to Janie’s house?

5. Why doesn’t Janie wear mourning clothes anymore?

6. Why is Pheoby scared that Janie is becoming like a possum?

7. Why does Janie decide to sell the store?

8. What does Janie mean when she says, “ah done lived Grandma’s way, now ah means to live mine”?

9. How is Pheoby like a chicken?

10. What costume is Janie preparing for her marriage to Tea Cake?

1. Joe has been...

(The entire section is 327 words.)

Chapter 13: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Does anybody from Eatonville see Janie leave?

2. What does Janie send Pheoby after a week in Jacksonville?

3. Why does Mrs. Samuels ask Janie to drink coffee with her?

4. How did Annie Tyler get her money?

5. How much money does Janie still have in Eatonville?

6. How does Janie know Tea Cake is coming back?

7. What does Tea Cake do with the ugly women who want to get into the party?

8. What happens with two men who want to fight each other at Tea Cake’s party?

9. What does God know about Tea Cake?

10. What is the name of the man who cuts Tea Cake with a razor?


(The entire section is 288 words.)

Chapter 14: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When does the bean season open?

2. Why is Tea Cake waiting for his new boss?

3. Why doesn’t Tea Cake gamble while they are waiting for the beans to grow?

4. How does Tea Cake make Janie practice shooting?

5. What is Tea Cake’s favorite dish?

6. Why does Janie make dessert every night?

7. What happens when the houses fill up?

8. Why do people come to Tea Cake and Janie’s house every night?

9. How often does Tea Cake win at gambling?

10. Who won the card game?

1. The bean season opens near the end of September.

2. Tea Cake’s boss left to get...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

Chapter 15: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Describe Nunkie.

2. How would Nunkie play with Tea Cake?

3. How does Janie react to Nunkie’s games?

4. How does Janie find out where Tea Cake is?

5. Why does Janie go home instead of to work?

6. What does Tea Cake do to keep Janie from running away?

7. How does Tea Cake “bruise” Janie’s ears?

8. Does Janie believe that Tea Cake was ever interested in Nunkie?

9. Why does Janie want to hear Tea Cake’s denial once again?

10. How does Tea Cake describe Nunkie to Janie?

1. She is a “little, chunky girl.”

2. Nunkie would continue to hit Tea...

(The entire section is 238 words.)

Chapter 16: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where do Tea Cake and Janie go now that the season is over and most of the people are leaving?

2. Describe Mrs. Turner.

3. How does Tea Cake joke about Mrs. Turner’s appearance?

4. Mrs. Turner guesses to Janie that Tea Cake is very rich. Why?

5. What does Mrs. Turner believe should be done about the “black race”?

6. According to Janie, why do white people want to stay away from blacks?

7. Why is Mrs. Turner so proud of her brother?

8. What does Tea Cake intend to do about Mrs. Turner’s insults?

9. Why does Tea Cake accuse Mrs. Turner of “making God look foolish”?

10. How does Mrs....

(The entire section is 315 words.)

Chapter 17: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How many times does Tea Cake slap Janie?

2. Why doesn’t Sop-de-Bottom hit his wife anymore?

3. Why don’t the police arrest drunks on the weekend?

4. Why is the whole gang at Mrs. Turner’s café?

5. What do Sterrett and Coodemay order at the café?

6. What does Coodemay ask the waitress to do?

7. How does the fight start?

8. Why does Mrs. Turner try to refuse Tea Cake’s help?

9. What happens when everyone decides to make up?

10. What do Coodemay and Sterrett do on Monday morning?

1. Tea Cake slaps her “two or three” times.

2. Sop-de-Bottom...

(The entire section is 294 words.)

Chapter 18: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How much money are the workers making picking beans?

2. Who begins to sing and dance to Tea Cake’s guitar?

3. How much money does Tea Cake win from Motor Boat?

4. Why does Tea Cake go out while Janie is packing up their things?

5. How deep is the water when they leave the house?

6. What does Tea Cake have to abandon because of the strength of the storm?

7. How long and wide is Lake Okechobee according to Tea Cake?

8. What does Motor Boat plan to do if the water gets into the house?

9. Why does the cow panic when Janie grabs on to her tail?

10. How could that dog “raised hell” with Tea...

(The entire section is 242 words.)

Chapter 19: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Tea Cake believe he can walk through the streets without being forced to work?

2. What do the white men call Tea Cake?

3. Whom has Tea Cake seen alive, and who has died in the flood?

4. What does Tea Cake refuse from Janie?

5. Whom does Janie meet as she goes to the see the doctor about the medicine?

6. Does the doctor have the medicine for Tea Cake?

7. Why does Tea Cake tell Janie not to work in the front yard?

8. What does Janie do after Tea Cake falls dead on her?

9. What is worse than death to Janie?

10. Why did Sop and the others try to hurt Janie?


(The entire section is 286 words.)

Chapter 20 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Sop-de-Bottom explain the town’s attack on Mrs. Turner’s brother?

2. How does the town make itself feel better after what they did to Janie?

3. How long had the town’s anger lasted against Janie?

4. What is the Everglades to Janie without Tea Cake?

5. What does Janie keep for herself from the Everglades?

6. What is love like, according to Janie?

7. What does Pheoby plan to do tomorrow?

8. What are the two things that everybody has to do for themselves?

9. What is Tea Cake wearing for a shawl?

10. Where is peace for Janie?

1. Sop-de-Bottom says...

(The entire section is 233 words.)