Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston Summary and Analysis Chapter 3

Summary

Nanny's friends attend Janie's wedding, which is held in Nanny's parlor on a Saturday evening. The guests are generously served three cakes and such hearty delicacies as fried rabbit and chicken. As always, Mrs. Washburn helps with the affair. Janie gets a good send-off into marriage, and she and her new husband ride away in Logan's wagon to his lonely home. The farm apparently is adjacent to the road, but the house is set back, almost in the woods, and for Janie, it is a dreary place.

After three months' time, Janie comes to visit Nanny at Mrs. Washburn's, arriving just as Nanny is making some beaten biscuits. Love has not come into Janie's marriage as she thought it would. She had convinced herself before the wedding that husbands and wives come to love each other, but it is not happening. Nanny can't give the young bride the advice she seeks. Instead, almost prophetically, Nanny admonishes Janie that she is still young, and many things can happen in her life. This wait-and-see advice, however, is not what Janie came to hear, and so she returns home. Within a month, Nanny is dead.

Analysis

Janie hopes that her marriage to Logan Killicks will bring her love and happiness. As she says to her grandmother, "Ah wants to want him sometimes." Janie's and Nanny's views of marriage clearly contrast with one another. Nanny wishes Janie a comfortable, secure life, unlike what she had. However, Janie yearns for a marriage filled with unconditional love. While Nanny's wishes for Janie's marriage were filled with good intent, this marriage only brought Janie feelings of unhappiness and loneliness.

Although she protested the marriage, Janie hopes her relationship with Logan will blossom and their love for each other will grow. As she says, "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think." After two and a half months, however, Janie still feels lonely in her marriage, just as she does in Logan's home, a place she describes as "a lonesome place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had ever been."

By the close of this chapter, Janie's hopes for love and for her marriage are dashed and she feels more alone than she ever has before. In this chapter, Janie comes to a powerful realization about love and marriage. She now understands that "marriage did not make love." At this point, Janie's dream of love and happiness dies, causing her to leave the naïve young girl that she was when she married Logan and to become a woman.

Glossary

beaten biscuits Southern cooks have long prided themselves on their beaten biscuits, pounding the dough for 20 or 30 minutes with a mallet or hammer, beating air into it until it is light.

knocked up pregnant.

kissin' yo' foot acting more like a servant than a husband and an equal.

buy and sell such as them Nanny is concerned about both the protection and economic security that Logan can offer Janie.

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