Their Eyes Were Watching God

Nanny Crawford Character Analysis

A former slave, Nanny is Janie's grandmother, a woman predominantly characterized by traditional perceptions about gender and marriage. Specifically, Nanny focuses on the importance of upward mobility and financial security for women, especially black women, and sees that goal as attainable only through marriage and the primary factor in selecting a husband (as opposed to, say, love). Although Nanny only wishes the best for her granddaughter, Janie feels tremendous frustration at various points throughout the novel for the limitations that Nanny's traditional worldviews have imposed upon her life and her particular desire to seek independence and freedom.

Nanny Crawford Quotes in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Their Eyes Were Watching God quotes below are all either spoken by Nanny Crawford or refer to Nanny Crawford. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

"Honey, de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out. Maybe it's some place way off in de ocean where de black man is in power, but we don't know nothin' but what we see…De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see."

Related Characters: Nanny Crawford (speaker), Janie Crawford
Related Symbols: Mule
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 9 Quotes

Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon – for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you – and pinched it in to such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter's neck tight enough to choke her.

Related Characters: Nanny Crawford
Related Symbols: The Horizon
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Nanny Crawford Character Timeline in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The timeline below shows where the character Nanny Crawford appears in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Janie is raised by her grandmother Nanny, and never met her mother or father. Janie and Nanny live in the backyard guesthouse... (full context)
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...and absent parents. To provide Janie with a greater sense of stability in her life, Nanny eventually buys a small plot of land, which Janie specifically describes as having a gate... (full context)
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...The day of the kiss, Janie spends the day under a blossoming pear tree in Nanny's yard. Janie is moved by the fertility of the tree, finding its shift from winter... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Nanny notices Janie and Johnny kiss from inside the house, and quickly arranges for Janie to... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
When Janie protests against marrying Logan, Nanny defends her decision by describing her own difficult past. Nanny was born into slavery and... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Nanny explains that she initially dreamed of providing a better life for Leafy, but those dreams... (full context)
Chapter 3
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...ever grow to love her future husband, resolving eventually to comfort herself: to believe what Nanny and other adults assure her – that she will in fact eventually love Logan and... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
..."waits for love to begin" for her new husband until she returns home to visit Nanny. When she does return, Janie complains to Nanny about the absence of feeling in her... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Janie is then met with severe criticism: Nanny calls attention to Logan's wealth, again making reference to his sixty-acres of property, and reprimands... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
After Janie leaves, Nanny prays that God will take care of her granddaughter. Within a month, Nanny dies. Through... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...Janie thinks more critically about her familial origins – and in particular, her relationship with Nanny. (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Janie expresses anger toward Nanny and the values and worldviews she taught Janie as a child. Specifically, Janie says that... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Despite Nanny's belief that "Uh woman by herself is uh pitiful thing," Janie feels remarkably happy in... (full context)
Chapter 12
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...her previous marriage to Jody marked a time when she lived her life according to Nanny's worldview, and that now she is ready to live her own way. When Pheoby asks... (full context)