Chapters eleven through fifteen of Their Eyes Were Watching God focus on Janie's relationship with Tea Cake. Considering Janie's newfound happiness with Tea Cake, post a comment that responds to one or more of the following questions. Remember to be specific in your response, and refer to the text to support your ideas.

1. How does Tea Cake fit into Janie's vision of the pear tree?
2. Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie?  Why or why not?
3. How is Tea Cake different from Joe?

As a follow-up posting, comment on the ideas in a classmate's posting, explaining why you agree or disagree with those ideas.

Kelti Lorence
11/28/2012 07:27:07 am

2. Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie? Why or why not?

I think overall that he is. Tea Cake brings to Janie back to life after having been under Joe's thumb for twenty years. Though there are small details that would make me wary of him, he does take care of her and provides for her in ways that Joe never did. He has a rough side, and, based on their age difference, many would think he is using her for her money. This is possible, but he still stays with her and she trusts him. Janie's dream is to be loved and bloom under that. Tea Cake proves that he loves her and always wants her companionship. This is the "water" that enables Janie to fully bloom the way she has always dreamed of. Though she now lives on the muck and not in a nice house, she has come back to life.

Reply
11/28/2012 08:02:29 am

I think that you are right in saying Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie. I liked the way that you returned to the metaphor of the tree for evidence, since it is clear Tea Cake fits into Janie's vision far better than her earlier husbands did. I also thought that your reference to Janie's dreams was a good connection to the theme of dreams that was presented at the beginning of the book. Tea Cake seems to fulfill both Janie's dreams and her vision of love.

Reply
11/28/2012 07:56:52 am

1. How does Tea Cake fit into Janie's vision of the pear tree?

Tea Cake fits into Janie's vision in part because of his character, and in part because of her feelings toward him. Janie's vision of the pear tree essentially represented a perfect love. It represented herself at her most beautiful and innocent, and it would "bloom" when true love came. At the beginning of her marriage to Jody, Janie believed that he, at least in part, fulfilled this vision. The longer she remained with him, however, the more she realized that Jody in no way fit into her vision of the pear tree. Tea Cake, as the complete opposite of Jody, has some qualities that allow him to better fit her vision. One of the most obvious parts of his character that allow him to fit the vision of the pear tree is the fact that he treats Janie as an equal. This is exemplified in his encouragement for Janie to play checkers. Tea Cake is also much less directly controlling. For instance, he does not demand that Janie wear blue, but because of Janie's growing love towards him she chooses to wear blue for him. As Janie said to Phoeby, "Tea Cake love me in blue, so Ah wears it." Janie goes on to point out that Jody never "picked out a color" for her. In addition, Tea Cake does what no man has yet done for her: he woos her. He plays with her, leads her on adventures, speaks with her regularly, etc. Neither Logan nor Jody attempted to do such things around her. All of these things that surround Janie's image of Tea Cake fit her idea of true love. Janie's feelings toward him develop greatly as a result of Tea Cake's character. She grows to love him in a way that she did not love Jody. Thus, Tea Cake fits her vision of the pear tree because he represents everything that Jody was not and because he evokes feelings of real love in Janie.

Reply
Megan Wall
11/28/2012 04:27:31 pm

Spot on! I agree with and love the way you articulated, "She grows to love him in a way that she did not love Jody." That is exactly happened. She tried to find love in her previous relationships & tried to make them appear to be her dream until she could no longer deny that the other men did not truly represent love. Suddenly, along comes Tea Cake and, boom! Her vision of a pear tree becomes reality. Great job, Hannah!

Reply
Megan Wall
11/28/2012 09:47:20 am

Tea Cake is different from Joe in three major ways. Firstly, Janie believes Tea Cake is the fulfillment of her dream, not a means of obtaining it. She uses Joe merely as a way of escaping from her relationship with Logan in an attempt to get closer to her dream becoming reality. We see that she doesn't run away with Joe out of belief that he will be her "dream come true" on page 29, "Janeie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for far horizon." By thinking this she means that he wasn't her "true love" but instead was a means for getting out farther to the horizon. Tea Cake, on the other hand was described by Janie as being a "bee to a blossom." Symbolising that he can be the fulfillment of her wishes. A second difference between Tea Cake and Joe is that Joe belittled Janie while Tea Cake taught her things and let her explore. Joe doesn't allow Janie to give a speech when the store first opens without asking her if she would like to. Tea Cake, on the other hand, teaches her how to play checkers. The last major difference is that Joe desired to be a powerful voice in society while Tea Cake desired fun above most all else. Page 28 shows Joe's goal, "It had always been his wish and desire to be a big voice..." After Tea Cake takes Janie's $200 to gamble and party he shows where his goal in life is. Tea Cake is different from Joe in the ways Tea Cake fulfills Janie's dreams, the way he taught her, and their personal goals in life.

Reply
Kendall
11/28/2012 03:47:02 pm

I completely agree with you Megan. I really think you hit the major difference spot on, the quotes from the story really helped support your ideas, giving me a mental image of the two side by side which made it easier to compare and contrast them.

Reply
Kendall
11/28/2012 03:42:55 pm

2. Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie? Why or why not?

I do think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie because he keeps her young, and full of hope. Tea Cake's age plays a factor into why he is a good match for Janie because his youth is what keeps Janie attitude lively. Tea Cake is a young man full of hopes and dreams, which relates to the description of some men's dreams, "come in with the tide",which was mentioned in the beginning of the story. This short description of certain types of men i think is what Janie has been after her whole life and is what she found in Tea Cake. She wants a guy that is going to allow her to have freedom. Tea Cake allows her to speak her mind and most importantly allows her to have dreams. Through the marriage of Tea Cake Janie has been able to discover herself and what love really is.

Reply
Tristan
11/28/2012 04:40:13 pm

I agree with what you said here. I like your application of that metaphor too. I especially agree with the bit about Tea Cake letting Janie find what love really is.

Reply
Brady
11/28/2012 05:16:56 pm

I believe that Tea Cake with what you say about Janie has found what she has been looking for. But, do you think that he may be too good for her because if he leaves or if something happens that makes all that freedom and hope go away, it could destroy her.

Reply
Mackenzie Cyr
11/29/2012 04:34:29 pm

I definitely agree with the fact that Tea Cake's age helps keep Janie young and lively! The freedom that Janie is looking for a man to give her is another big factor in why Tea Cake is so good for Janie.

Reply
Samantha Farmer
12/17/2012 07:42:12 am

I love how you refer back to the beginning of the novel. I agree with your reasoning and you tie everything in well with the theme of dreams! Good job

Reply
Tristan
11/28/2012 04:37:56 pm

3. How is Tea Cake different from Joe?

Tea Cake is different from joe in three main ways; he isn't as rich, he cares more about Janie, and he is much younger than Janie. First, Tea Cake has less money than Joe did, the fact that he has 'nothing to his name' is mentioned by several characters. Joe had "round three hundred dollars" in his pocket (pg. 28). Also, Tea Cake cares more about Janie. He never asked for her money and when he finally hit her, he was extremely apologetic afterwards. Joe would treat her like a possession. Finally, Joe was much closer to Janie's age than Tea Cake. Tea Cake was about twenty when he married a forty year-old Janie. Joe was in his late twenties while Janie was in her late teens.

Reply
Brady
11/28/2012 05:11:36 pm

3. How is Tea Cake different from Joe?

The main difference I see in Tea Cake is that he sees Janie as his equal, which at that time period is very different. This is the main reason that Janie is drawn to Tea Cake. He includes her. He teaches her how to play checkers when Joe would have said that her brain couldn't have comprehended it. When Tea Cake and Janie move to Florida, Tea Cake lets her work in the fields. He lets her have freedom and able to do the things she wants to do. Joe made her do things for his own selfish reasons like making her put her hair up. Tea Cake lets her do things for her own satisfaction.

Reply
Mary Sine
11/28/2012 05:37:35 pm

I agree with you. I like how you brought up the fact that Tea Cake treats her as an equal, and how that is very different from how Joe treated her. You also made a good point about how that was different from the society back then.

Reply
Jonathan D.
11/29/2012 08:29:04 am

I agree with what you said. I did not even think as Janie and Tea Cake being equal to each other.

Reply
Mary Sine
11/28/2012 05:35:11 pm

1. How does Tea Cake fit into Janie's vision of the pear tree?
Tea Cake fits into Janie's image of because unlike her other husbands, he allows her, as the pear tree, to "bloom," instead of holding her back. For instance, her first husband, Logan, ruined the image of the pear tree in her mind when she found out she was marrying him. And her second husband, Joe, shattered her image of the pear tree by controlling her and eventually abusing her. On page 72 after Joe hit her, she "... had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be." This metaphor makes Janie the pear tree, and her first two husbands didn't let the pear tree bloom, however Tea Cake does by treating her as an equal and by letting her make her own decisions. On page 106 after Tea Cake tells her he likes her she thinks, "He could be a bee to a blossom -- a pear tree blossom in spring." This makes Tea Cake a bee to her pear tree and therefore something that helps the pear tree to live and doesn't hurt it or hinder it.

Reply
Celeste Yahr
11/28/2012 05:57:53 pm

Mary I agree! I think your response was great. Great job at tying in all of her relationships. Tea Cake definitely helps her blossom and live again.

Reply
Ariana
11/28/2012 06:38:57 pm

Mary, great job. The quotes that you chose really backed up your ideas. I completely agree with what you are saying.

Celeste Yahr
11/28/2012 05:48:34 pm

2. Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie? Why or why not?
I do think that Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie. He is kind, thoughtful, and really cares about Janie. Tea Cake has really made Janie feel like a human being instead of someones property like she may have felt with Jody or Logan. From the moment that Tea Cake entered the story he tries to make Janie feel good. He plays checkers with her when no one else has ever even asked her to. "Ah didn't aim tuh let on tuh yuh 'bout it, leastways not right away, but Ah ruther be shot wid tacks than fuh you tuh act wid me lak you is right now. You got me in de go-long."(pg 105) this shows he cares what she thinks of him and that it matters to him how she feels. Tea Cake makes it as if they are companions and will enjoy the life they have together which is good for Janie. She has had some not so great men in her life so Tea Cake is a nice breath of fresh air.

Reply
Lacayah
11/30/2012 04:07:20 am

I agree. I like that you chose that quote. It's not a quote that I would have chosen at first glance. So, it was nice to see how you used it.

Reply
Ariana
11/28/2012 06:36:42 pm

2. Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie? Why or why not?
I think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie because he treats her equally and with respect. He also cares for her in a way that no other man in Janie's life has treated her. Tea Cake does little things for Janie that show her that he really cares like when " Tea Cake went to the piano without so much asking and begins playing blues and singing..... the sounds lulled Janie to a soft slumber."; and when Janie awoke " she woke up with Tea Cake combing her hair". Tea Cake won't push Janie to make decisions because of what he would do even Janie says " Tea Cake ain't draggin' me off nowhere Ah don't want tuh go." This shows that he cares about and respects her opinion and that he treats her as an equal. Since Tea Cake has treated Janie in the ways that he has, I think that he and Janie are a good match.

Reply
Trevor
11/28/2012 07:00:14 pm

Great response. The quotes provide very powerful support for your idea.

Reply
Trevor
11/28/2012 06:57:38 pm

Tea Cake is a completely different man than Joe was. Joe was very controlling and made Janie put her hair up all the time and work in the store. Everything had to revolve around Joe. If something wasn’t right, Joe took it as his personal responsibility to take everything out on someone else; often it happened to be Janie. One example is when Janie didn’t cut the tobacco right. Even though the man who the tobacco was being sold to was just joking when he said that women don’t know how to use knives, Joe took it as a personal insult that he was making Janie do the wrong thing and snapped at Janie. On the other hand, Tea Cake treats Janie as more of a friend. He invites her to do things such as play checkers. He treats her as more of an equal during social events instead of a woman, and Janie seems to enjoy that a lot. Tea Cake is also quite a bit younger than Janie. He shows this by the way he is willing to try new things. In conclusion, Joe and Tea Cake are very different men. Each one fulfills a separate desire within Janie.

Reply
Hannah H
11/29/2012 06:23:48 am

I’m not sure Joe ever fulfilled a desire in Janie. I feel that Janie used him as an escape from Logan, and TRIED to fulfill her dreams with Joe, but failed, resulting in her disappointment.

Reply
Hannah H
11/29/2012 06:18:17 am

How is Tea Cake different from Joe?

Tea Cake is very different from Joe, you could almost say he is Joe's exact opposite. Joe was self-centered; looking for fame and recognition from all the people surrounding him, while Tea Cake could care less about fame; he just wants to enjoy life. Joe was also controlling towards Janie, while Tea Cake treats her as an equal, as a friend, asking her to play checkers with him. The age difference in the two men also allow them to express two different people, as a result, Tea Cake is more ambitious and fun, making Janie laugh and getting her out, while Joe's mission kept her locked up in the store.

Reply
Carley
11/29/2012 07:45:30 am

I like your personal ideas about the differences between the two men. However, I believe that Joe was the ambitious one and he let those goals get in the way of his relationship with Janie.

Reply
Carley
11/29/2012 07:42:45 am

3. How is Tea Cake different from Joe?

Tea Cake is different from Joe is very many different ways. For starters, the age difference plays a large role in the different personalities. There is most likely a 20-30 year age difference between the two men, and at this time in history, with the new outlook of equality for everyone, whether it be race, age, or standings in a town, it is possibly the reason for the large personality difference between the two men. Joe is authoritative and likes to be in control of everything while Tea Cake looks at everybody like his equal and he's okay with not being the leader.Tea cake has a different outlook on life. While Joe was focused on making sure he was the top dog of the town, Tea Cake didn't really mind what others thought of him and he just lived to do whatever he wanted. These personality differences are ultimately what attracts Janie to Tea Cake and what drove her to resent Joe.

Reply
Jonathan D.
11/29/2012 08:28:08 am

How is Tea Cake different from Joe?
Well, Tea Cake is different from Joe in a variety ways. First of all, when Joe first met Janie way back in chapter 4, he was fascinated with her. As time went on, Joe got too involved in the new town they moved to to spend time with Janie. Even when Janie was working in the store alongside Joe, he didn't take notice to her. Then after Joe died, Tea Cake came along and really interacted with Janie. Tea Cake taught Janie how to play checkers in chapter 11. Tea Cake came up to the store when no one was there and started talking to Janie and then offered to teach her how to play checkers. "How about playin' you some checkers? You looks hard tuh beat." Tea Cake. "Ah is, 'cause Ah can't play uh lick." Janie. "You don't cherish de game, then?" Tea Cake. This goes on till Tea Cake offers to teach Janie how to play. This is just one of the many things that Tea Cake does for Janie that Joe did not. One other thing is that Tea Cake has spent allot of money on Janie when Joe did not. Tea Cake went out and rented a car just so him and Janie could go for a drive together. The one very important and special fact about Tea Cake is that he is not a very rich man but works very hard for the money that he earns. Joe had a lot of money too but he didn't spend any of it on Janie and what she wanted.

Reply
Mackenzie Cyr
11/29/2012 04:32:43 pm

Do you think that Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie?
Yes! I definitely think that Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie because I really do think that he cares for her like no other man had before. Tea Cake makes Janie feel like she finally found her dream, and, despite being older than he, makes her feel young and free-spirited again. Janie's biggest dream is to be loved, and Tea Cake provides her with that love; true love. Some characters in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" believe that, because of Tea Cakes age, he is only after her money. This is obviously not true; in chapter 13 on page 119 when Tea Cake tells Janie "don't you worry 'bout yo' lil two hundred dollars." He reminds her that he has everything taken care of and that from here on out he will provide for her. After being cut while playing poker to win back Janie's money Tea Cake says, "From now on, you gointuh eat whutever mah money can buy yuh and wear de same." This proves to readers that Tea Cake really does want to make Janie happy, no matter what it takes. One of the sweetest lines that really makes it clear to readers that Tea Cake and Janie are good for each other lies on page 119; "From now on you'se mah and mah woman and everything else in de world Ah needs." Tea Cake and Janie need each other to feel complete in life; they are eachother's rock-holding one another up when the other is weak.

Reply
Emily
11/30/2012 03:27:30 am

I liked your quotes. They were the perfect ones to support your idea.

Reply
Emily
11/30/2012 03:26:44 am

3. Tea Cake is different from Joe for a couple reasons. Tea Cake is poor, so none of the women think that anyone, let alone Janie should consider marrying him because he doesn't have anything material to offer. Joe was a mayor, and had a store, which was the perfect deal for anyone. However, Tea Cake actually loved Janie, and she loved him. Joe never actually loved Janie in the way that he should have, he loved her more like a possesion put on display. He wouldn't let her go anywhere or do what she wanted, but Tea Cake enjoyed her company and wanted her with him as much as possible.

Reply
Jacob Jones
12/2/2012 08:11:13 pm

I agree that Joe thought of Janie as a possession on display, but I do not think he loved her. I also agree that Tea Cake actually loved Janie and enjoyed her company, and wanted to be with her.

Reply
Lacayah
11/30/2012 04:04:54 am

Do you think Tea Cake is a good partner for Janie? Why or why not?

I think that Tea Cake is a really good partner for Janie. He treats her like an equal. He compliments her. He get's jealous over her, as opposed to Joe, who got jealous over the idea of her no longer being HIS. Tea Cake also tells her that she will never have to touch the money that she has in the bank because he will always provide for the two of them. He genuinly loves her. Janie has also found the love that she's always wanted. She goes from a fancy, comfortable home and life to working in the muck of the everglades with Tea Cake. It's a change that no one else would have made, but Janie did and she loved it. She was finally happy with him and felt complete and at peace. Tea Cake was her light. She shows this when she says "If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk" Their mutual love was especially evident after the hurricane when Tea Cake was feeling guilty about bringing her away from her security and asked her if she expected this when she left the life she had. She answered "Once upon uh time,Ah never 'spected nothin', Tea Cake, [...] but you come 'long and made somethin' outa me. So Ah'm thankful fuh anything we come through together."

Reply
Jacob Jones
12/2/2012 08:04:55 pm

The main difference between Tea Cake and Joe is that Tea Cake treats Janie as his equal and Joe treats her as one of his prized possessions. Tea Cake treats Janie better then both of her other husband that made her work. Tea Cake does not make her work but he ask her if she will, giving her the choice to decide if she wants or if she does not. In addition, Tea Cake does not think of Janie as an object but as a partner and a companion. He also respects her. Joe on the other hand treats Janie as one of his objects that he can show off as he pleases. Joe makes Janie work as the store because he does not want to and by doing, that he is also is displaying her as his trophy wife. Joe does not respect Janie.

Reply
Mika
12/6/2012 07:22:38 pm

Tea Cake is considerably different from Joe in ways that Janie could have never hoped more for. Joe kept Janie tight in his grasp. He made her wear her hair up, so no men could admire it, and forced her to refrain herself from interacting with people on the porch. Tea Cake, however, did not restrict her in such ways and treated her as an equal. He taught her to play checkers and work. He loved her like Joe never tried to, as he focused his attention on his job as mayor rather than his job as a husband. He had money and a repectable place in the community while Tea Cake was poor and looked down upon by Janie's friends.

Reply
Samantha Farmer
12/17/2012 07:39:58 am

Chapter two begins with the sentence, “Janie saw her life like a great tree” which creates symbolism in the story. She compares the beauty of nature to her life—especially her love life. The author wrote, “Janie had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree for the last three days.” She tried to gain knowledge from the tree and to seek answers. It seemed that she became envious of the tree. It resembles “true, perfect love”. Janie exclaimed, “Oh to be a pear tree—any tree in bloom!” She longed for that beautiful, blooming love that is unconditional. After two failed/unpleasant marriages, Janie finally found her “tree of life” or reason for living—love with Teacake. He was the epitome of the pear tree. I think he is a great partner for Janie because she wants to be a free spirit and experience new things which he allows her to do. He is adventurous himself, and takes Janie all over. He is different than Joe because he is not controlling and he is aware of Janie’s feelings and needs.

Reply



Leave a Reply.