Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vergible Woods: Knight in Shining Armor

From the start, Tea Cake is portrayed as a sharp contrast to Janie's previous husbands and the male callers in her town. He is intelligent, confident, and well-mannered, but in addition he treats women as equals. Tea Cake shows Janie respect when he challenges her to a checkers game:

". . .she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play" (96).

This first little act shows that Tea Cake isn't blinded by the same female stereotypes accepted by other men like Logan Killicks or Joe Starks. This could be a sign of his age, possibly suggesting he comes from a younger generation, or else it is just an admirable personality trait.

Tea Cake also appears to be a real gentlemen. He is careful not to "wrench a lady's fingers" (96), when the two are playing checkers, he buys Janie a drink, and later on when he walks her home "he tipped his hat at the door and was off with the briefest good night" (99). He doesn't pressure her like the rest of the men in Eatonville about moving on and needing a man.

I think this relationship with Tea Cake is going to be a good stepping stone for Janie in better understanding herself and in becoming a more independent woman.


  1. I definitely agree with Amanda that Tea Cake treats women more as equals than the rest of the men in the town. The reason for this might be that he does not want to merely have an object for a wife like all the other men seem to want. Rather, Tea Cake is looking for an adventure. Besides just a wife, he is looking for someone to be his partner and someone willing to take risks.

  2. This is exactly how I viewed Tea Cake as he was introduced into the novel. Amanda did a great job describing how Tea Cake is different from the other men who Janie has interacted with. Tea Cake is like a breath of fresh air. I agree with Amanda that Tea Cake can be classified as a gentleman. He did not act superior to Janie and he treated her like a lady.

  3. So I assume Amanda that you wrote this before reading chapters 16-20... I'm curious, would your evaluation of Tea Cake be different now? For example I saw your comment on Tien's post bashing Tea Cake... does that mean you are staying the course?