Notes on Characters from Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Major Characters

Janie Crawford: Main character of the novel. Janie leaves home and marries Logan Killicks. Then she leaves him for Joe Starks, and eventually leaves Joe for Tea Cake. Throughout the novel, she goes though a process of self-revelation and finds her identity and voice.

Porch Sitters: People of the town where Janie is from. They sit on their porches and talk about everyone, especially Janie. They are always judging others and want to hear as much as they can about everyone else’s business.

Pheoby Watson: Janie’s best friend and confidant. She listens to the story that Janie tells, which comprises the novel.

Grandma (Nanny): Raises granddaughter, Janie, in West Florida. Never had a voice because she was always suppressed by white people (grew up during slavery). She wants a better life for Janie and also wants Janie to have a voice (a say in her destiny).

Logan Killicks: Older man that Nanny arranges Janie to marry. He is Janie’s first husband. He has smelly feet, a big belly, and a big head. He feels Janie doesn’t do enough work around the house and thinks she’s spoiled. Janie leaves him for Joe Starks.

Joe "Jody" Starks: Man with money who takes Janie away from her old life. Gives her money, fancy clothes, and the "high life." He is the mayor of Eatonville. He keeps Janie from speaking her mind and forces her to always be silent.

Tea Cake: Falls in love with Janie and runs off with her to the Everglades (in Florida). He makes Janie feel special. He is bitten by a rabid dog and falls ill. Janie is forced to shoot Tea Cake to save her own life.

Mrs. Turner: Black woman on the muck who doesn’t like other black people. She has white features and thinks that blacks are beneath her. She tries to fix Janie up with her brother, because she doesn’t care for Tea Cake. Her restaurant gets destroyed in a fight.

Minor Characters

The Washburns: White family in West Florida that raises Janie.

Johnny Taylor: He kisses Janie at the gate of Nanny’s house. This makes Nanny want to marry Janie off because she feels Janie is now a woman.

Leafy: Janie’s mother. She is raped by a white schoolteacher and conceives Janie. She becomes a drunk and runs away from home, leaving Janie with Nanny.

Matt Bonner: Member of the town of Eatonville. He owns a skinny mule. Porch sitters make fun of him and his mule. They say that he doesn’t feed the mule and that is why he is so skinny.

Daisy Blunt: A black girl with white features, whom everyone considers beautiful.

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