Janie's character in chapter's 13, 14 and 15 of Their Eyes Were Watching God
Chapters 13, 14 and 15 in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston deals a lot with Janie’s character and the way her relationship with Tea Cake is affected by it. I think that Tea Cake’s story about where he was and what he was doing in Chapter 13 was doubtful. There is no excuse for Tea Cake to have left with the money for a day. He went out to have fun while Janie was wondering if Tea Cake had left her. There is something that caught my attention on page 146 where Janie says,
“Sho Ah would. Ah laks fun just as good as you do.” (Janie)
“Janie, Ah wanted tuh, mighty much, but Ah was skeered. Too skeered Ah might lose yuh.” (Tea Cake)
Tea Cake makes it seem like he was innocent. He was scared that Janie might not go with him, but yet he wasn’t scared to take his wife’s money. It is so wrong that after he took all the money, he tries to act like everything is good and that he should be understood.
When Tea Cake explains what happened he made it seem like he was expecting for Janie to forgive him. We can see this on page 146:
He had done found out how rich people feel and he had a fine guitar and twelve dollars left in his pocket and all he needed now was a great big old hug and kiss from Janie.
Reading this makes me think that Tea Cake cared more about feeling what it is like to be rich than he did his wife. I think Tea Cake is being a hypocrite by expecting Janie to just forgive him after what he did. If he really loved her, he wouldn’t have the need to know what it feels like to be rich. There was no need to take the money without Janie knowing anything. With this event, I think that Janie should not trust Tea Cake anymore. I think their relationship will be a little difficult because trust can be an issue between them.
After what Tea Cake did, it seems that Janie seems to be blinded by his love because she trusts him. On page 144 it says:
Janie laughed at that and let herself lean on him. The she announced to the same audience, “Mis’ Woods got herself uh new lil boy rooster, but he been off somewhere and won’t tell her.”
Based on what Janie says here, I can conclude that she does not care about Tea Cake taking her money. She is joking about it, and she seems to be okay with it. Janie seems to trust Tea Cake, and she believes everything he said to her.
Because of the love she has for Tea Cake, she fears that he might leave her one day. This is shown on page 147 where Janie says:
“Looka heah, Tea Cake, if you ever go off from me and have a good time lak dat and them come back head telling’ me how nice Ah is, Ah specks tuh kill yuh dead. You heah me?”
Janie is showing that she is insecure about herself because of the age difference. She worries more about not loosing Tea Cake than the money he stole from her. Janie is trying to show Tea Cake that she can be tough and won’t let any guy rule her.
As the story goes along Janie’s character is starting to take different turns and develop in different ways. Janie is the woman who is crazy in love with Tea Cake, but she is also trying to prove something to others.
In chapter 14, Janie starts to learn how to shoot a gun. On page 154 there is one passage where Janie got really good at shooting and people are impressed:
It got so others stood around and watched them. Some of the men would beg for a shot at the target themselves. It was the most exciting thing on the muck. Better than the jook and the pool-room unless some special band was playing for dance. And the thing that got everybody was the way Janie caught on. She got to the place she could shoot a hawk out of a pine tree and not tear him up.
Here Janie is showing that she can be strong and she is proving to men that she is capable of doing something that men do. She is being admired by men and that must make her feel good about herself. I think that she tried really hard to learn fast and get good to prove to Tea Cake and to herself that she is a brave woman. Janie is developing from an immature young girl that dreamed about love to a woman who faces reality but wants to prove to others that she is more than just a woman who can be a housewife.
As Janie proves to have a strong character, she also has a weakness, and that is Tea Cake. Janie really loves Tea Cake, and I think that she feels that she needs to be cautious all the time. Because she is an older woman she thinks that Tea Cake might go for another girl who is much younger and leave her, just like what happened with Mrs. Tyler. On page 159 there is one of these passages where Janie feels jealous because a girl is trying to fool around with Tea Cake.
A little seed of fear was growing into a tree. Maybe he had already given secret encouragement and this was Nunkie’s way of bragging about it. Other people began to notice too, and that put Janie more on a wonder.
In here Hurston is showing us that Janie is insecure and doubts the love that Tea Cake has for her. She thinks that maybe Tea Cake fell into Nunkie’s arms already. Janie feels jealous because there is something in her that makes her feel old and not pretty or good enough for Tea Cake. In this case, I think that Tea Cake’s and Janie’s relationship might start to grow when Janie realizes that Tea Cake hasn’t done anything and that he has been loyal to her. This will prove to Janie that Tea Cake really loves her, and this will make her trust him more.