Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Sam Watson is Pheoby's husband and a frequent participant in the conversations that unfold on the porch of Jody's store in Eatonville. Sam Watson voices particular concern on Janie's behalf as she begins to see Tea Cake publicly, worrying that Janie will end up like the poor widow Mrs. Tyler, who was cheated out of her money by her younger lover called Who Flung.

Sam Watson Quotes in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes below are all either spoken by Sam Watson or refer to Sam Watson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God published in 2006.
Chapter 6 Quotes

"Nature is de first of everything. Ever since self was self, nature been keepin' folks off of red-hot stoves. Dat caution you talkin' 'bout ain't nothin' but uh humbug."

Related Characters: Sam Watson (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Lige Moss and Sam Watson, two townspeople, engage in a long, playful conversation about nature and caution, attempting to answer the question: "Whut is it dat keeps uh man from gettin’ burnt on uh red-hotstove—caution or nature?" Sam argues for nature, Lige for caution, and all of Eatonville seems to gather around the two men, including Janie herself. 

This discussion of nature and control calls to mind many of the book's themes. Sam believes that nature is the first and "strongest" thing God made, that everything else (including human ideas of caution) is simply a byproduct of nature. Janie's experience of the world corresponds to Sam's cosmology: she first witnesses the pear tree, nature at its ecstatic peak, and this memory becomes a standard by which she judges all relationships. Again and again, Janie acts according to her instincts, throwing caution to the wind when she runs off with first Jody, then Tea Cake. Hurston rarely presents caution in a favorable light and her heroine's choices, however rash, always seem inevitable, not so much right as natural and instinctive. 


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Sam Watson Character Timeline in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The timeline below shows where the character Sam Watson appears in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Meanwhile, outside on the porch, Pheoby's husband Sam Watson and fellow townspeople argue about the question of nature versus nurture – specifically whether humans... (full context)
Chapter 12
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...at the town picnic, Janie becomes the object of the town's judgmental gossiping. Pheoby's husband Sam Watson speculates to his wife that Tea Cake must be using Janie for her money and... (full context)