"Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, Chapters 11-15

Considered a seminal work of African-American literature, Their Eyes Were Watching God is notable for its strong and independent female protagonist.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Foreword, Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-20, Afterword

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. mimic
    imitate, especially for satirical effect
    Tea Cake stood there mimicking the tuning of a guitar.
  2. restrained
    marked by avoidance of extravagance or extremes
    Three or four stood behind her and coached her moves and generally made merry with her in a restrained way.
  3. lull
    make calm or still
    The sounds lulled Janie to soft slumber and she woke up with Tea Cake combing her hair and scratching the dandruff from her scalp.
  4. gentile
    a Christian as contrasted with a Jew
    “Ah’m de Apostle Paul tuh de Gentiles. Ah tells ’em and then agin Ah shows ’em.”
  5. reckon
    expect, believe, or suppose
    “You got yo’ ideas and Ah got mine. Ah got uh dollar dat says you’se wrong. But Ah reckon you don’t bet money, neither.”
  6. excruciating
    extremely painful
    This was a new sensation for her, but no less excruciating.
  7. malice
    the quality of threatening evil
    “Dat’s jealousy and malice. Some uh dem very mens wants tuh do whut dey claim deys skeered Tea Cake is doin’.”
  8. broach
    bring up a topic for discussion
    Janie acted glad to see her and after a while Pheoby broached her with, “Janie, everybody’s talkin’ ’bout how dat Tea Cake is draggin’ you round tuh places you ain’t used tuh..."
  9. proposition
    a suggestion offered for acceptance or rejection
    Dis ain’t no business proposition, and no race after property and tides.
  10. denounce
    to accuse or condemn openly as disgraceful
    Then when her ready cash was gone, had come Who Flung to denounce his predecessor as a scoundrel and took up around the house himself.
  11. predecessor
    one who precedes you in time
    Then when her ready cash was gone, had come Who Flung to denounce his predecessor as a scoundrel and took up around the house himself.
  12. gripe
    Those slippers bent and griped just like her work-worn feet.
  13. shabby
    showing signs of wear and tear
    Who Flung had taken her to a shabby room in a shabby house in a shabby street and promised to marry her next day.
  14. vessel
    an object used as a container, especially for liquids
    All she found out was that she was too old a vessel for new wine.
  15. dwindle
    become smaller or lose substance
    She dwindled down on the floor with her head in a rocking chair.
  16. feeble
    pathetically lacking in force or effectiveness
    Daylight was creeping around the cracks of the world when Janie heard a feeble rap on the door.
  17. phosphorescent
    emitting light without appreciable heat
    Shining their phosphorescent eyes and shooting them in the dark.
  18. taper
    diminish gradually
    She always had some kind of dessert too, as Tea Cake said it give a man something to taper off on.
  19. suppressed
    held in check with difficulty
    There was a suppressed murmur when she picked up a basket and went to work.
  20. emanation
    something that is emitted or radiated
    They wrestled on until they were doped with their own fumes and emanations...

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.