Body 5: Tea Cake's Mistakes*

Janie’s arrival at the Glades meant a new start, but it also meant a new set of eyes to judge her. Maybe it was not as malicious or direct, but she was still judged heavily nonetheless. Tea Cake sadly, is the first to judge her, with the simple mistakes of thinking that she did not want to go out to play with him because she was too respectable. Tea Cake was “skeered. Too skeered Ah might lose yuh” (124) to invite Janie. Maybe this was not purposefully meant on Tea Cake’s part, but he judged her and in his opinion, Janie was stuck up and respectable, too high for lowly him. This causes some slight tension between them but mostly, Janie silently accepts it now, after experience twenty years of judgment’s glare. One of Tea Cake’s biggest fears was to lose his reputation among the others. That meant that he had to have the ideal wife or the others would poke fun at him for marrying such a ridiculous women. This leads to his action of beating her.Tea Cake’s reasoning was “to show that he was boss” (147). But more than that, he actually wanted to “arouse a sort of envy in both men and women” (147). This envy makes Tea Cake feel proud of himself. Maybe Janie was not being directly judged, but she was being indirectly affected by it and judgment still found its way into her life. He brought her along with him to the fields. His reason? He couldn’t stand a day without seeing her. But when Janie comes to the fields, she becomes received by a whole new set of eyes. While she eventually learns to thrive in that community of people, there was no way to avoid the first few moments of suspicious squinting and cold what-are-you-doing-here glares. But the worse of Tea Cake’s actions is his jealousy towards Janie. While his jealousy is not quite prominent during their two years of marriage, though they do have a few fights over it, jealousy shows up most visibly at the end. Even though he wasn’t right in his mind, he still starts judging Janie’s every action and move. A hidden fear from deep down inside him gets revealed and the results are fatal.The end product of his jealousy was death. A death that could have, with a very slim chance, been avoided.

The End

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