External and Internal Conflict
In quite a few chapters, Janie has been having conflicts. Janie is facing the town’s criticism of her and Tea Cake as a couple. Many people think that Janie should still be mourning. Many also believe it’s rude of her to be going off with another man so early, as seen in the book that “Joe Starks hadn’t been dead but nine months and here she goes sashaying off to a picnic in pink linen” (110). They believe that Janie is being discourteous about the whole situation and they hate to see her with such a man as Tea Cake. The town’s people also try to expostulate her from being with Tea Cake by telling her that Tea Cake is too young for her, Tea Cake is going to use her money up, and that Tea Cake is not a good match for her. Janie is conflicted with this mass amount of information she keeps receiving and because the town inveighs this new romance. She is torn on whether to believe the town’s people, including her good friends, or to ignore them. This internal conflict is always keeping Janie skeptical of Tea Cake, because she doesn’t know if she can truly trust him.
This issue Janie is facing puts more interest into the story because it keeps one guessing on how this relationship is going to work out. The only reason why it’s such a big deal that Janie and Tea Cake are in a relationship is because Janie is Joe Stark’s widow and she is very attractive. The town’s people loved Joe, but didn’t know him like Janie did. They all are sticking up for Joe when they say such things about this relationship. Also, a major percentage of the town’s people who are complaining are men. Most men wanted Janie for themselves so they are speaking out of jealousy. In the middle of all this, Janie is left confused and torn. Now the cause may be because of liking Joe and the jealousy, but the effects of this conflict are greater. Due to everyone looking down upon this relationship, Janie has a hard time fully letting herself trust Tea Cake. She always seems very skeptical and cautious of Tea Cake’s actions. The effect of this conflict is either going to leave her broken-hearted or distant from her old hometown and all her friends who lived there.