Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Their Eyes Were Watching God

  Their Eyes Were Watching God
There is nothing better in life than reading a good book.  A book whose words draw you into a place beyond yourself.  Outside I watch snow clouds plummet like dead owls releasing their hold on the tree branches and dropping into the creek with such force that wet circles expand to mark the burial vortex.  But I digress.

I finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God and it finished well.

The words hung with me.  I was transported.

Here are some of them (note: I read it on my Kindle, so I don’t have page numbers for these quotes).

Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took.  Spices hung about him.  He was a glance from God. 

Anyone who looked more white folkish than herself was better than she was in her criteria, therefore it was right that they should be cruel to her at times, just as she was cruel to those more negroid than herself in direct ratio to their negroness.  Like the pecking-order in a chicken yard.  Insensate cruelty to those you can whip, and groveling submission to those you can’t.  Once having set up her idols and built altars to them it was inevitable that she would worship there.  It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty from her deity as all good worshippers do from theirs.  All gods who receive homage are cruel.  All gods dispense suffering without reason.  Otherwise they would not be worshipped.  Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.  It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom.  Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers.  Real gods require blood. 

If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk.  It’s so many people never seen de light at all.

The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time.  They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.

Soon everything around downstairs was shut and fastened.  Janie mounted the stairs with her lamp. The light in her hand was like a spark of sun-stuff washing her face in fire.  Her shadow behind fell black and headlong down the stairs.  Now, in her room, the place tasted fresh again. The wind through the open windows had broomed out all the fetid feeling of absence and nothingness.  She closed in and sat down.  Combing road-dust out of her hair.  Thinking.  The day of the gun, and the bloody body, and the courthouse came and commenced to sing a sobbing sigh out of every corner in the room; out of each and every chair and thing.  Commenced to sing, commenced to sob and sigh, singing and sobbing.  Then Tea Cake came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees.  Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl.   .  .  The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall.  Here was peace.  She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net.  Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her should.  So much of life in its meshes!  She called in her soul to come and see.

If only I could write sentence like those.  Filled with sound and truth and motion.  Words that make the heart sing and tears flow. 

Do you have some favorite sentences?  Paragraphs?

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