Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Theme: Self-Fulfillment

I finished TEWWG!!! Sorry, just had to start this off with my excitement of finishing. The end was thoroughly entertaining. If you haven't finished it yet, don't read this...

Now that I have finished, I want to reflect what I believe to be a major theme of the novel. This being that one needs to find equality and have their freedom in order to gain self-fulfillment. Janie finds this with Tea Cake. Her past two husbands were controlling and forced Janie to live life the way they saw best fit for a wife. Immediately Tea Cake proves to Janie to consider women equal to men. Tea Cake and Janie get married and move to the Everglades. She finds true happiness their. She wants to take care of Tea Cake. She finds herself expressing jealously. Janie realizes that she truly found love with Tea Cake. She is allowed to take part in conversation and stories, wear her hair down, etc. She feels free from her previous self, the Janie who was controlled and miserable. She reaches self-fulfillment with each passing day in the muck with Tea Cake.

When the hurricane hits, the two lovers undergo the natural disaster together. Both worried on loosing each other. Tea Cake saves Janie from a wild dog, getting bit in the face. Later, Tea Cake gets sick and the doctor realizes that his symptoms are showing that the dog was mad. Tea Cake too grows mad and Janie fears the thing growing inside of him. She hopes for the best, not yet ready for her love to leave her. But she realizes their is no hope and in an act of self defense and mercy, she kills him with his rifle. The act of murder she committed to her was not murder. She needed to relieve him from pain. Even though Tea Cake dies, Janie still feels self-fulfilled. It is better to have once had, then to never have had all. Janie recognizes this. So when she recalls her story to Pheoby she keeps this in mind. She knows Tea Cake is present, brighting up the room. Near the end the narrator states, "Of course he wasn't dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finally finished feeling and thinking..." (193). So Tea Cake lives on and so does Janie. After traveling along her journey, trying to find the right way to live, she reaches her destination. She reaches not only love, but more importantly true freedom and bliss. In her own way, Janie found what Nanny truly wanted her to have, freedom. And Janie found what she wanted to have, self-fulfillment. 


So what I wrote above is what I feel like is one theme, I'm not sure if I agree 100% though. I feel that Tea Cake was a big leap forward from Janie's past two husbands, but I still feel like he had control over her. An example of Tea Cake's control is when he says, "Ah didn't whup Janie 'cause she done nothin'. Ah beat her tuh show dem Turners who is boss" (148). He feels that he has control over Janie. I feel like Tea Cake himself was searching for self-fulfillment. I just don't know if he was reaching it. Despite the fact that I believe Tea Cake is controlling, Janie feels equal and that's why she is fulfilled. Any input? 

Also, my picture is supposed to be the "Evening Sun" - what Janie kept referring to Tea Cake as at the end. Ignore the random words on the picture...

1 comment:

  1. Tea Cake isn't someone who is satisfied with merely having an average life. He definitely isn't someone who wants others to think he doesn't have absolute control over his wife. By beating her, I think he was pushing away his latent insecurities to gain a sense of self-fulfillment.

    In the end, Janie probably feels as if she had been treated as an equal because she is willing to see through Tea Cake's imperfections. Although she condones his actions more than I would like, she truly loves Tea Cake. I don't think she considers his jealous outbursts and beatings as actions that would outweigh the adventure he brings to her life. Janie highly values adventure and excitement, so by being with Tea Cake her dreams were fulfilled.