Their Eyes Were Watching God: Novel Summary: Chapter 16

Hurstons sixteenth chapter depicts Janies interactions with Mrs. Turner, an African-American woman who is prejudiced against other African-Americans. She has light brown skin and is attracted to Janies even fairer complexion. Turner believes that blacks hold themselves down, resolving “We oughta lighten up de race” (135). Brainwashed by repressive white society, Mrs. Turner “had built an altar to the unattainable – Caucasian characteristics for all” (139). In addition, she denounces Tea Cake because he is poor and encourages Janie to marry someone in a higher social class, namely, Turners brother. When Mrs. Turner leaves, Janie finds Tea Cake in the other room, having heard their entire conversation. Although Janie assures him that she isnt looking to marry anyone else, Tea Cake gets his revenge on the spiteful Mrs. Turner in the following chapter.