Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The black men living around the muck realize after the "royal" burial Janie gives Tea Cake that they were wrong to abuse her as they did. As such, they turn their aggression to Mrs. Turner's brother and run him out of town. The men beg Janie to stay in the muck with them, but she is unable to stay there without Tea Cake. She returns to Eatonville with a package of garden seeds that remind her of Tea Cake and plans to plant them in memoriam.
The behavior of the men in the muck provide another example of characters in the novel using blame as a means to gain power: immediately after realizing they were wrong to blame Janie for Tea Cake's death, they turn to Mrs. Turner's brother, who also never did anything against Tea Cake. It's as if they always need someone to blame.
Themes
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
At this point, Janie concludes her story to Pheoby, telling her that she is satisfied to be home, as she has "been tuh the horizon and back." Janie expresses awareness of the judgments she will face now, but that she is strong enough to endure it all without much pain, as she has experienced love and feels fulfilled in her life.
At this point, Janie's roles as narrator and protagonist of her story collide, and the narrative comes full circle. At this moment, Janie not only tells Pheoby that she has reached "the horizon" but shows it, too: she is no longer a passive pawn in someone else's life, but the narrator of her own story, someone with a voice, power over her own life, who is able to face judgment with indifference, and who has independence and spiritual fulfillment.
Themes
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Before falling asleep that night, Janie returns to the memory of killing Tea Cake. She realizes that Tea Cake is still alive as long as she is still alive, as he is still with her, having shown her the true meaning of the horizon.
Despite the inherent sadness of Janie's memory, this final moment of the novel reveals the impressive extent of Janie's strength and sense of self-recognition: she has found a balance in her life between love, even in Tea Cake's absence, and self-realization.
Themes
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon