Their Eyes Were Watching God
Reading Questions, Chapters 15-20

Chapter 15

1. What’s the name of the girl who stars flirting with Tea Cake?

2. What does “A little seed of fear was growing into a tree” mean?

3. Why does Janie impulsively rush into the sugar cane looking for Tea Cake?

4. Why does she go back to the quarters after she fails to catch Nunkie?

5. Why does Janie fight with Tea Cake after he comes to find her?

6. What resolution do Janie and Tea Cake reach?

7. How long does it take to reach resolution?


Chapter 16

1. What time of year is it when the events of this chapter take place?

2. What type of music do Janie and Tea Cake begin to enjoy?

3. What are the physical characteristics of Mrs. Turner that “To her way of thinking… set her aside from Negros”?

4. What is Janie’s defense of Tea Cake to Mrs. Turner’s criticisms?

5. What are Mrs. Turner’s complaints about black people?

6. What is Mrs. Turner’s solution for Janie?

7. What does Mrs. Turner mean when she describes Booker T. Washington to Janie as “a white folks’ nigger”?

8. What is Tea Cake’s reaction to seeing Mrs. Turner’s husband on the street?

9. Why does Mrs. Turner put up with Janie’s cold treatment of her when she comes around to visit?

10. What are the characteristics of Mrs. Turner’s God?


Chapter 17

1. Why does Tea Cake whip Janie?

2. Why is the whipping envied by the other field workers?

3. Why does Sop-de-Bottom believe Mrs. Turner wants Janie to hook up with her brother?

4. What do people do with their cash on Saturday afternoon when they get paid?

5. What do the men tell Mrs. Turner about her beef stew when they go to her restaurant?

6. What does Coodemay propose the waitress do with his order of stew? Why?

7. Why does Tea Cake say he is stepping into the fight?

8. What is the result of the fight at the restaurant?

9. Why is Mrs. Turner angry at her husband?

10. What’s Mrs. Turner’s reason for heading back to Miami?


Chapter 18

1. Why do the Bahaman workers stop holding their drumming parties in hiding from the Americans?

2. What is motivating the bean pickers to stay on the Muck, even though they hear about a hurricane coming?

3. How does Tea Cake respond when Lias offers him a ride?

4. As the storm gathers, what does Tea Cake want to know from Janie?

5. Who do Janie and Tea Cake leave their house with to venture into the storm?

6. Where do they find refuge when the waters of the big lake break and rise around them?

7. What are the dangers of swimming in the hurricane waters?

8. What is Janie’s chance to save herself from drowning after she flies off the piece of tin roofing and into the water?

9. What is Janie’s reaction to Tea Cake’s dog bite?

10. What had Janie seen in the mad dog’s eyes?


Chapter 19

1. What is “Him-with-the-square-toes” a personification of? Why does the house he lives in have no sides?

2. What happens to Tea Cake when he goes into town looking for news about how his friends survived the storm?

3. Why does he think the Red Cross will not bother him?

4. What is the difference between how dead blacks and dead whites are buried?

5. What do Tea Cake and Janie disagree about when he returns from town?

6. What do Janie and Tea Cake learn was the fate of Sop-de-Bottom in the storm? Of Sterrett?

7. What are the signs that Tea Cake has rabies?

8. What does Tea Cake believe that sends him into a jealous rage?

9. What does Janie do to Tea Cake’s pistol? Why?

10. What do the blacks in the Everglades believe about Tea Cake’s murder?

11. What do the whites on the jury believe about it?

12. Why does Janie wear her overalls to Tea Cake’s funeral?


Chapter 20

1. Who do Janie’s friends on the Muck blame for Tea Cake’s death in this chapter?

2. What do they do to the person they blame it on?

3. What is the only thing Janie saves after giving away everything in the house where she and Tea Cake lived?

4. What does Janie say to Pheoby that expresses her satisfaction with being home in Eatonville again?

5. What does Janie tell Pheoby to tell the townsfolk when they worry about her?

6. What does Janie say are the two things that everyone has to do for themselves?

7. What does Janie do after Pheoby goes home?

8. What kinds of things does she remember after she combs her hair?

9. Why isn’t Tea Cake really dead to her?

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