Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a novel about a young girl in search of her dreams. Hurston tells the story through a flashback of Janie's life being told to her friend, Phoeby. Janie is a young black girl being raised by her grandmother, Nanny, because Janie's mom leaves her after a white man rapes Janie's mom. White people always seem to repress Janie's desires. In contrast, Nanny wants Janie to have everything she wants in life. Since Nanny wants the best for Janie, Nanny arranges for Janie to marry a wealthy man whose name is Logan Killicks. The marriage is not at all what Janie wants it to be. Logan will not listen to Janie and forces her to work in the fields. .
Joe Starks shows interest in Janie. Janie immediately falls for Joe, and the two leave on a train to Eatonville where they marry. Joe is a man with high goals, and over time Joe gains a strong voice in the town of Eatonville. After becoming Mayor of Eatonville, Joe helps build up the town. In time, Janie realizes that the marriage is not what she wants because Joe does not listen to her and makes her work in the store. Soon, however, Joe falls ill and dies. .
Another man, Tea Cake, begins to come around Janie after Joe's death. Tea Cake falls in love with Janie for the person she is and not the money she earns while she is with Joe. Janie loves Tea Cake for the compassion and respect he shows her, so the two marry and move south to the Everglades. The two live happily together by earning the money they need by working on a "muck" harvesting beans and sugar cane. However, a large hurricane comes, and they leave in fear of their lives. In the midst of the hurricane, they pray and keep "their eyes watching God." Tea Cake saves Janie from a rabid-dog during the hurricane, but in the process, is bitten and falls ill. In Tea Cake's dementia, he tries to kill Janie, but Janie shoots Tea Cake before he can kill her.