Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 1
Janie Crawford has returned to town after a trip of some sort. Janie is a full-figured woman with big breasts, firm buttocks, and long hair. The men look at her with desire. She is wearing overalls, which is quite different than the fancy blue satin dress the town last saw her in. The town is unnamed, but because of the dialect that is used, the reader can tell that the town is in the south, and the people are black.. It is dusk and people are sitting on their porches watching Janie walk back into town. These people, the porch sitters, sit on their porches and talk about everyone else's business. They are especially interested in Janie's business. They cannot wait to hear all about Janie's life while she has been away:
"These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment." Chapter 1, pg. 2
Janie's best friend, Pheoby Watson, also can't wait to talk to her also. She leaves the porch sitters to go and give Janie some of the mulatto rice that she cooked. The porch sitters want Pheoby to find out the information about Janie and then come back and tell them everything. Janie is tired and worn out from her long trip home and her feet ache. Pheoby gives her the rice, and Janie is grateful for it. In exchange, Janie says that she will tell Pheoby all about her life and what happened to her, and specifically, why she has returned to the town. Pheoby tells Janie that she will only tell the porch sitters what Janie says she can tell them. As dusk fades to darkness, Janie tells Pheoby her story.