Their Eyes Were Watching GOD^

Jun 3, 2011
by: jlima

So in the book, Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the author creates a foil character. A foil character is who serves as a contrast to another more primary character, so as to point out specific traits of the primary character. The author uses Mrs. Turner as a foil character. Mrs. Turner seems to hate black people in the book but has a strong persona. She seems like she won’t take anything from anybody and she will retaliate if someone does. She also doesn’t hold anything back. She told Janie how she felt towards her relationship with Tea Cake.

“Tain’t  de poorness, it’s de color and de features. Who want any lil ole black baby layin’ up in de baby buggy lookin’ lak uh fly in buttermilk? Who wants to be mixed up wid uh rusty black man, and uh black woman goin’ down de street in all dem loud colors, and whoopin’ and hollerin’ and laughin’ over nothin’? Ah don’t know. Don’t bring me no nigger doctor tuh hang over mah sick-bed. Ah done had six chillun- wuzn’t lucky enough tuh raise but dat one- and ain’t never had a nigger tuh even feel mah pulse. White doctors always gits mah money. Ah don’t go in no nigger store tuh buy nothin’ niether. Colored folks don’t know nothing ‘bout no business. Deliver me!”

This shows me that Mrs. Turner really dislikes colored people. That obviously includes Tea Cake but other than that she doesn’t like him in general. Mrs. Turner wants somebody better for Janie and she thinks her brother can fit the equation. So Tea Cakes responds to this in a shocking way.

“When Mrs. turner’s brother came and she brought over to be introduced, Tea Cake had a brainstorm. Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss.”

Tea Cake beat Janie to show Mrs. Turner who’s boss in the relationship and she’s not going no where. What i think about that is that he had to do what he to do but he could’ve showed them in a different and respectful way. it wasn’t really necessary  for him to slap her like that but in a way he got his point proven.