Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Muck : the place in which Janie and Tea Cake Find Happiness

I found it striking in Their Eyes Where Watching God that the setting changes so drastically throughout the book. The differences between Eatonville and the Muck are abnormally vast. Eatonville is completely rural and quaint with the little houses and the local general store. Everything seems all prim and proper which includes the way in which the townspeople act.
In the muck however, life is far less puritanical.

Janie and Tea Cake both benefit more from this lifestyle. They enjoy the social side of the Muck and are often carousing with the local men who seem to all have rediculous names such as Sop-de-Bottom. These names themselves express the idea that everyone is laid back and completely comfortable with one another down in the muck. The fact that Tea Cake shares this tradition of odd nicknames shows that he is more accepted by the people while Janie is once again slightly removed from society. However, unlike in Eatonville with Joe Starks, Tea Cake makes a concerted effort to include Janie in his society and make her feel welcome. This is a major factor in Janie and Tea Cake's shared love. One of the many things that Tea Cake does to show his respect for Janie.

The other interesting thing that arises from the muck (hohoho?) is that it wold normally be percieved as a very ugly and unappealing place. However, it gives birth to something truly beautiful in the relationship between Janie and Tea Cake. This more wild side that would first be considered by a first time observer of the muck becomes more evident later once the hurricane hits. It proves that the setting of the muck was one that creates a beautiful thing before inevitably being the destructor of that same beauty when Tea Cake is afflicted with Rabies.


  1. Good point... many would relate muck to dirtiness and maybe sadness. However the muck is probably the happiest place Janie ever lived.

  2. I agree with the fact that the setting of the muck affects the novel. I agree that the change in location for both Janie and Tea Cake makes their relationship stronger. I also think that this is because of the fact that they communicate with the other people of the muck and that Janie is able to participate in this. Like you said, although Janie is still partially removed from society, she gets more of a voice while living at the muck.