Body 6: Trial and Judgment*

Following Tea Cake’s death, Janie is immediately put on trial. She is very obviously judged. But more than that, Janie wishes to be judged here. She wants the white women to bore her down and for once, she actually directly cares how she’s seen. When Janie’s eyes stray to the white women, she thinks that “it would be nice if she could make them know how it was instead of those menfolks” (185). There is a small connection between her and the white women, and unlike her previous experiences, she wishes to be understood here and not just become another helpless victim of prejudice and lies. But not only is she being judged by the white people, she also had to worry about all of Tea Cake’s friends from the Glades. As Hurston puts it, “so many were there against her that a light slap from each one of them would have beat her to death.” This many people thinking negatively about her was sure to cause some problems and turn the opinions on some of the whites. But while she wishes to be judged here, she doesn’t give in to judgment, refusing to “plead to anybody” (187). She wishes to convince others, but not in the degrading way of pleading. Janie is in her mind a strong and self-supporting women. She refused to bend her knees at judgment and do what the weak did. If she was going to tell everyone her story, she would tell it with bold and strong confidence. She would move them, but Janie was not the pitiful type of person who would plead just yet. Judgment would really have to break her to receive that.

The End

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