Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Psychological Outlook on Why Janie Chooses Tea Cake

In class, when we were talking about "Big Mama" and black mothers/mothers in general I realized something that could possibly connect to why Janie ends up satisfied with Tea Cake. I feel that Tea Cake subconsciously reminds Janie of Nanny. Nanny played the role of both Janie's parents, raising her as if she was her own daughter. Nanny's hardships forced her to play both the mother and father roles on order to allow Janie the possibility of a better life. To do this, she needs to play a role that is sweet and nurturing, as well as, controlling and showing tough-love. These are traits that also fit with Tea Cake. 

"She slapped the girl's face violently, and forced her head back so that their eyes met in struggle. With her hand uplifted for the second blow she saw the huge tear that welled up from Janie's heart and stood in each eye. She saw the terrible agony and the lips tightened down to hold back the cry and desisted. Instead she brushed back the heavy hair from Janie's face and stood their suffering and loving and weeping internally for both of them" (14).

This quote, shows a scene where we as readers see Nanny's get physically abusive with Janie in an attempt to control her and who she loves. Further down the page, Nanny says, "Yo' Nanny wouldn't harm a hair on yo' head." She shows her nurturing side here. This kind of actions must have confused Janie and how she perceives others. Later, on in the novel we see Tea Cake. A very friendly, kind man at first look. Once Janie and him get married, we see a different side to Tea Cake. He had controlling aspects in his personality, and whips Janie to show her and other whose boss. Soon after I recall a delightful passage of Tea Cake's wonderful side to his personality, that I feel Hurston  intentionally crafts to compare Nanny and Tea Cake. I find Tea Cake's behavior unusual, and feel like Nanny's unusual upbringing of Janie may have contributed to why Janie decided to be with him. So because Janie was raised how she was her mind and self believes this is an ideal person for a husband to take care of her.  

I could be completely wrong here, but I find it interesting to think about...

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