- (He) disliked his family, and disliked himself for disliking them. (Doesn’t like what he feels)
—Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis
- His stomach ceased to feel as though it did not belong to him. (Personified stomach)
—Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis
- On the instant when we come to realize that tragedy is second-hand. (Surprising metaphor)
—The Sound and The Fury, William Faulkner
- Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling.
—The Grape of Wrath, John Steinbeck
- The smolder of pain was in their eyes.
—The Grape of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Misery –Stephen King
He didn’t know the answers to any of these questions. Did it make sense to ask them? He didn’t know the answer to that one, either.
He wished he was dead, but through the pain-soaked haze that filled his mind like a summer storm-cloud, he did not know he wished it.
Sometimes the sounds stopped. Sometimes he stopped.
Part of him knew for a long time before most of his mind had knowledge of knowing that the shattered pilings were his own shattered legs.
As the pain itself began not to recede but to erode
That prescient part of his mind saw her before he knew he was seeing her, and must surely have understood her before he knew he was understanding her.
Her eyes, which appeared to move, were actually just painted on, and they moved no more than the eyes of portraits which appear to follow you wherever you move in the room where they hang.
She didn’t know as much about what she was doing as she believed she did. That was only one of the things about Annie that scared him.
The darkness had prologued the pain and the storm-cloud; he began to remember what had prologued the darkness as she told him what had happened to him.
Paul was frightened by what he saw on her face, because what he saw was nothing; the black nothing of a crevasse folded into an alpine meadow, a blackness where no flowers grew and into which the drop might be long. It was the face of a woman who has come momentarily untethered from all of the vital positions and landmarks of her life, a woman who has forgotten not only the memory she was in the process of recounting but memory itself.
But now he was alerted. Everything she said was a little strange, a little offbeat. Listening to Annie was like listening to a song played in the wrong key.
And if she didn’t kill him, she might kill what was in him.
But he had been just drunk enough to think he could drive his way out of it.
The beads of sweat on his forehead felt alternately hot and cold. Was he going to scream? He thought perhaps he was.
She looked at him with faint disapproval–but, as before, it was mixed with love. It was a maternal look.
He made something he hoped was a smile.
She turned off then. She just sat there for what might have been thirty seconds. During that time Paul sheldon’s heart did not seem to beat at all.
He tried to smile at her ingratiatingly and felt that shame again–he felt grotesque to himself, a stranger.
Part of him groaned but none of him hesitated.
Too stupid? No. Too set. Not just unwilling to change, but antagonistic to the very idea of change!
Each time he had taken a year or two off to write one of the other novels–what he thought of as his “serious” work with what was at first certainty and then hope and finally a species of grim desperation…
The tone of these letters varied from bewilderment (that always hurt the most, somehow), to reproach, to outright anger, but the message was always the same…
he suddenly felt better again, felt himself again, even though he knew this rebellion was petty and pitiful and meaningless.
He felt a flush of shame and humiliation warming his face, but now they were mixed with real anger: it had bloomed from a spark into a tiny sunken flame.
The springs creaked as she got up.
He reappeared promptly when the clock in the other room struck eight, with two capsules and a glass of water.
He hoisted himself eagerly on his elbows…
Ice tinkled in the glass. I was a maddening sound.
He could feel the sweat standing out on his forehead.
The pain throbbed in his legs and made a deep steel circlet around his crotch… he thought his pelvis was intact, but it felt twisted and weird.
The glass was cool and beaded with moisture.
Her left hand tilted. The capsules rolled, hesitated, and then fell back into her right hand with a minute clicking sound.
His bones were shattered, his legs filled with festering shards of broken glass.
She crimsoned suddenly and alarmingly.
But he couldn’t see her because his eyes were still closed and now he felt the sting of tears… and although a bolt of horror ripped into his heart, Paul still did not open his eyes.
he thought, and stared blindly up at the ceiling as the droplets of sweat began to gather on his forehead again.
He was somewhere between hurting and not hurting.
In some vague way he supposed that such tricks of the trade might interest, even fascinate her. God knew they had fascinated the attendees of the writers’ workshops to whom he had sometime lectured…
her face now like a sky which might spawn tornadoes at any instant.
The soup-bowl was tilting in her hands. One, then two drops fell on the coverlet.
she screamed, and threw the bowl into the corner, where it shattered. Soup splashed up the wall. He gasped.
Her face went slack again and she looked moodily at the wall. He thought she was going to blank out again, but instead she fetched a sigh and lifted her bulk from the bed.
He lay propped up on the pillows…
and cold sweat running down his face in little slow creeks…
Once she turned around and saw him shivering and soaking the bedclothes in sweat, and she favored him with such a sly knowing smile that he could easily have killed her.
He could not see her face, but the idea–the certainty–that she had gone blank and might go on scrubbing the wall for hours tormented him.
He began to cry soundlessly.
observing his wet face with the same mixture of sternness and maternal love.
Living alone as I do is no excuse whatever for scamping the job. My mother had a motto, Paul, and I live by it. ‘Once nasty, never neat,’ she used to say.
She leaned over him like a monolith, the bucket slightly tipped. He could see the rag twisting slowly in its dark depths like a drowned thing;
the taste in his mouth was as it had been on the occasions when his mother made him brush his teeth with soap.
His belly hitched and he made a thick sound.
She looked at him for a moment with a flat empty gaze, and then her face lit up and she smiled.
She left, not looking back, carrying the floor-bucket the way a study countrywoman might carry a milk-pail, slightly away from her body with no thought at all, so that none would spill.
He heard the dim crunch of her footsteps in the snow.
Her breath plumed out, the broke apart on her moving face.
His mind kept trying to push it away, like a child pushing away his meal even though he has been told he cannot leave the table until he has eaten it.
He didn’t want to think about it because justing living it was hard enough.
Thinking of those things would not change his situation, was in fact worse than not thinking at all.
They were the thoughts that came, crowding out all others. His heart would start to beat too fast, mostly in fear, but partly in shame, too. He saw himself putting his lips to the rim of the yellow floor-bucket, saw the rinse-water with its film of soap and the rag floating in it, saw these things but drank anyway, never hesitating a bit. He would never tell anyone about that, assuming he ever got out of this, and he supposed he might try to lie about it to himself, but he would never be able to do it.
Are you already so cowed you can’t even try.
For a moment his thoughts broke off cleanly.
when he had spent most of his adult life thinking the word writer was the most important definition of himself–made her seem utterly monstrous, something he must escape.
He lay back, put his arm over his eyes, and tried to hold onto the anger, because the anger made him feel brave, A brave man could think. A coward couldn’t.
Why did she she no longer practice her trade? That seemed obvious. Not all her gear was stowed right; lots of it was rolling around in the holds. If it was obvious to him even through the haze of pain he had been living in, it would surely have been obvious to her colleagues.
She had told no one he was here, and if she hadn’t by now, that meant she didn’t mean to.
It had the most beautiful feathers–red and purple and royal blue–that he had ever seen…and the saddest eyes.
it was doomed to die in the cage where it lived, far away from wherever God had meant it to be…
Its feathers. Its eyes.
He pressed the crook of his elbow more tightly against his eyes. From the barn he could hear spaced thudding noises.
He willed her to say more; she would not.
Paul drifted off to sleep.
Great relief swept through him–so great he felt like crying.
it was chiming from beyond the wall of sleep… Sadness replaced the relief.
Her bookmark suggested she was about three-quarters of the way through.
The first thing which was not the truth that popped into his head was what he replied…
The Tell-tale Heart — Edgar Allan Poe
Art is long and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. — Longfellow.
TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been, and am; buy why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in the hell. How, then, am I mad? Harken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none… He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! — yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so, by degrees — very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. (Great description of eyes)
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing… And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it — oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I first put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly — very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see the old man as he lay upon his bed.
A watch’s minute-hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never, before that night, had I felt the extent of my own powers — of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph… I fairly chuckled at the idea.
Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew that it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain, or of grief — oh, no! — it was the low, stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me… Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these supposition; but he had found all in vain. All in vain: because death, in approaching the old man had stalked with his black shadow before him, and the shadow had now reached and enveloped the victim.
And now — have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over acuteness of the senses? — now, I say, there came to my ears a low dull, quick sound — much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.
Do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: — so I am. And now, at the dead hour of the night, and amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable wrath.
for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome… while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.
I was singularly at ease.
They were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything [was] better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable that this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer!
dissemble no more! … it is the beating of his hideous heart!
Their Eyes Were Watching God — Zora Neale Hurston
Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation. His dream mocked to death by time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.
Their eyes flung wide open in judgment.
The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky.
So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.
Description of a woman:
The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her hip pockets; the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume; then her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt. They, the men, were saving with the mind what they lost with the eye. The women took the faded shirt and muddy overalls and laid them away for remembrance. It was a weapon against her strength and if it turned out of no significance, still it was a hope that she might fall to their level some day.
She left the porch pelting her back with unasked questions. They hoped the answers were cruel and strange.
You looks like youse yo’ own daughter.
The varicolored cloud dust that the sun had stirred up in the sky was settling by slow degrees.
Dat’s just de same as me ’cause mah tongue is in mah friend’s mouf.
So long as they get a name to gnaw on they don’t care whose it is, and what about, ‘specially if they can make it sound like evil.
Janie full of that oldest human longing — self revelation.
So ’tain’t no use in me telling you somethin’ unless Ah give you de understandin’ to go ‘long wid it. Unless you see de fur, a mink skin ain’t no different from a coon hide.
Time makes everything old so the kissing, young darkness became a monstropolous old thing while Janie talked.
Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.
It (pear tree) had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously. How? Why? It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing she heard that had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep. It connected itself with other vaguely felt matters that had struck her outside observation and buried themselves in her flesh. Now they emerged and quested about her consciousness.
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dustbearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; The thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage. She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.
She was seeking confirmation of the voice and vision, and everywhere she found and acknowledged answers. A personal answer for all other creations except herself. She felt an answer seeking her, but where. When? How? … In the air of the room were flies tumbling and singing, marrying and giving in marriage… Oh to be a pear tree — any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her Where were the singing bees for her? Nothing on the place nor in her grandma’s house answered her. She searched as much of the world as she could from the top of the front steps and then went on down to the front gate and leaned over to gaze up and down the road. Looking waiting, breathing short with impatience. Waiting for the world to be made.
Through pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road… That was before the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes.
So she extended herself outside of her dream and went inside of the house. That was the end of her childhood.
Her eyes didn’t bore and pierce. They diffused and melted Janie, the room and the world into one comprehension.
With her hand uplifted up from Janie’s heart and stood in each eye. She saw the terrible agony and the lips tightened down to hold back the cry and desisted. Instead she brushed back the heavy hair from Janie’s face and stood there suffering and loving and weeping internally for both of them.
Every tear you drop squeezes a cup uh blood outa mah heart.
You know, honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways.
De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.
And mah head is ole and tilted towards de grave.
You can’t beat nobody down so low till you can rob ’em of they will.
Look lak she been livin’ through uh hundred years in January without one day of spring.
There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Janie had had no chance to know things, so she had to ask. Did marriage end the cosmic loneliness of the unmated? Did marriage compel love like the sun the day?
Janie asked inside of herself and out. She was back and forth to the pear tree continuously wondering and thinking.
The new moon had been up and down three times before she got worried in mind.
But Nanny, Ah wants to want him sometimes. Ah don’t want him to do all de wantin’.
Dis love! Dat’s just whut’s got us uh pullin’ de mornin’ till can’t see at night.
When she gained the privacy of her own little shack she stayed on her knees so long she forgot she was there herself.
There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn’t know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She ofter spoke to falling seeds and said, “Ah hope you fall on soft ground,” because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. I was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
But springtime reached her in there… The noon sun filtered through the leaves of the fine oak tree where she sat and made lacy patterns on the ground.
He whistled, mopped his face and walked like he knew where he was going.
Janie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for far horizon. He spoke for change and chance.
The sun from ambush was threatening the world with red daggers, but the shadows were gray and solid-looking around the barn.
A feeling of sudden newness and change came over her… Even Joe was not there waiting for her, the change was bound to do her good.
The morning road air was like a new dress. That made her feel the apron tied around her waist.
From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words have to be made and said to fit them.
They sat on the boarding house porch and saw the sun plunge into the same crack in the earth from which the night emerged.
That irritated Hicks and he didn’t know why. He was the average mortal. It troubled him to get used to the world one way and then suddenly have it turn different.
A feeling of coldness and fear took hold of her. She felt far away from things and lonely.
A familiar strangeness… But any man who walks in the way of power and property is bound to meet hate.
…but none had the temerity to challenge him. They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.
Every morning the world flung itself over and exposed the town to the sun.
When the people sat around on the porch and passed around the pictures of their thoughts for the others to look at and see, it was nice. The fact that the thought pictures were always crayon enlargements of life made it even nicer to listen to.
He was next to the Mayor in prominence, and made better talking.
A little war of defense for helpless things was going on inside her… She didn’t hurry back. She fumbled around long enough to get her face straight.
…during the walk Mrs Tony was eager she sometimes stepped on Joe’s heels, sometimes she was a little before him. Something like a hungry cat when somebody approaches her pan with meat. Running a little, caressing a little and all the time making little urging-on cries.
The years took all the fight out of Janie’s face. For a while she thought it was gone from her soul. No matter what Jody did, she said nothing. She had learned how to talk some and leave some. She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels. Sometimes she stuck out into the future, imagining her life different from what it was. But mostly she lived between her hat and her heels, with her emotional disturbances like shade patterns in the wood — come and gone with the sun. She got nothing from Jody except what money could buy, and she was giving away what she didn’t value.
Now and again she thought of a country road at sunup and considered flight. To where? To what? Then too she considered thirty-five is twice seventeen and nothing was the same at all.
If Ah don’t, life won’t be nothin’ but uh store and uh house.
She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. Man attempting to climb to painless heights from his dung hill.
…prostrating itself(herself) before Jody.
Somebody near about making summertime out of lonesomeness.
This was the first time it happened, but after a while it got so common she ceased to be surprised. It was like a drug. In a way it was good because it reconciled her to things. She got so she received all things with the stolidness of the earth which soaks up urine and perfume with the same indifference.
One day she noticed that Joe didn’t sit down. He just stood in front of a chair and fell in it. That made her look at him all over. Joe wasn’t so young as he used to be. There was already something dead about him.
He didn’t rear back in his knees any longer. He squatted over his ankles when he walked. That stillness at the back of his neck. His prosperous-looking belly that used to thrust out so pugnaciously and intimidate folks, sagged like a load suspended from his loins. It didn’t seem to be a part of him anymore. Eyes a little absent too.
(Description of a old man)
For the first time she could see a man’s head naked of its skull. Saw the cunning thoughts race in and out through the caves and promontories of his mind long before they darted out of the tunnel of his mouth. She saw he was hurting inside so she let it pass without talking. She just measured a little time for him and set it aside to wait.
The more his back ached and his muscle dissolved into fat and the fat melted off his bones, the more fractious he became with Janie.
It was funny if you looked at it right quick, but got pitiful if you thought about it awhile. It was like somebody snatched off part of a woman’s clothes while she wasn’t looking and the streets were crowded.
Then Joe Starks realized all the meanings and his vanity bled like a flood. Janie had robbed him of his illusion of irresistible maleness that all men cherish, which was terrible… When he paraded his possessions hereafter, they would not consider the two together. They’d look with envy at the things and pity the man that owned them. When he sat in judgment it would be the same. Good-for-nothing’s like Dave and Lum and Jim wouldn’t change place with him. For what can excuse a man in the eyes of other men for lack of strength? Raggedy-behind squirts of sixteen and seventeen would be giving him their merciless pity out of their eyes while their mouths said something humble. There was nothing to do in life anymore. Ambition was useless. And the cruel deceit of Janie! Making all that show of humbleness and scorning him all the time! Laughing at him, and now putting the town up to do the same. Joe Starks didn’t know the words for all this, but he knew the feeling.
He didn’t really hate Janie, but he wanted her to think so. He had crawled off to lick his wounds… But the stillness was the sleep of swords. So new thoughts had to be thought and new words said… Well if she must eat out of a long-handled spoon(keep an distance), she must.
Then too she noticed how baggy Joe was getting all over. Like bags hanging from an ironing board. A little sack hung from the corners of his eyes and rested on his cheek-bones; a loose-filled bag of feathers hung from his ears and rested on his neck beneath his chin. A sack of flabby something hung from his loins and rested on his thighs when he sat down. But even these things were running down like candle grease as time moved on.
(Description of a old man)
So Janie began to think of Death. Death, that strange being with the huge square toes who lived way in the West. The great one who lived in the straight house like a platform without sides to it, and without a roof. What need has Death for a cover, and what winds can blow against him? He stands in his high house that overlooks the world. Stands watchful and motionless all day with his sword drawn back, waiting for the messenger to bid him come. Been standing there before there was a where or a when or a then. She was liable to find a feather from his wings lying in her yard any day now… Rumor, that wingless bird, had shadowed over the town.
A look with all the unthinkable coldness of outer space. She must talk to a man who was ten immensities away.
Through the thin counterpane she could see what was left of his belly huddled before him on the bed like some helpless thing seeking shelter.
The half-washed bedclothes hurt her pride for Jody. He had always been so clean.
You changes everything but nothin’ don’t change you — not even death… you ain’t de Jody ah run off down de road wid. You’se whut’s left after he died… Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowded out tuh make room for yours in me.
but life had mishandled him too… Maybe if she had known some other way to try, she might have made his face different. But what that other way could be, she had no idea. She thought back and forth about what had happened in the making of a voice out of a man… Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass… The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place… The weight, the length, the glory was there(hair)… Then she starched and ironed her face, forming it into just what people wanted to see…
Most of the day she was at the store, but at night she was there in the big house and sometimes it creaked and cried all night under the weight of lonesomeness. Then she’d like awake in bed asking lonesomeness some questions… She hated her grandmother and had hidden it from herself all these years under a cloak of pity. She had been getting ready for her great journey to the horizons in search of people; it was important to all the world that she should find them and they find her. But she had been whipped like a cur dog, and run off down a back road after things. It was all according to the way you see things.
Some people could look at a mud-puddle and see an ocean with ships. But Nanny belonged to that other kind that loved to deal in scraps. Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever mad, 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. She hated the old woman who had twisted her so in the name of love. Most humans didn’t love one another nohow, and this mis-love was so strong that even common blood couldn’t overcome it all the time.
She had found a jewel down inside herself and she had wanted to walk where people could see her and gleam it around. But she had been set in the market-place to sell. Been set for still-bait. When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Then after that some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine.
She knew by her head that she was absolute owner, but it always seemed to her that she was still clerking for Joe and that soon he would come in and find something wrong that she had done.
Dis is de last day for dat excuse.
she find herself glowing inside.
She looked him over and got little thrills from every one of his good points. Those full, lazy eyes with the lashes curling sharply away like drawn scimitars. The lean, over-padded shoulders and narrow waist. Even nice!
(Description of a young man)
Janie was halfway down the palm-lined walk before she had a thought for her safety. Maybe this strange man was up to something! But it was no place to show her fear there in the darkness between the house and the store. He had hold of her arm too. Then in a moment it was gone. Tea Cake wasn’t strange. Seemed as if she had known him all her life. Look how she had been able to talk with him right off!
So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.