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Quotes

Quote #4

At the newel post Janie whirled around and for the space of a thought she was lit up like a transfiguration. Her next thought brought her crashing down. He’s just saying anything for the time being, feeling he’s got me so I’ll b’lieve him. The next thought buried her under tons of cold futility. He’s trading on being younger than me. Getting ready to laugh at me for an old fool. But oh, what wouldn’t I give to be twelve years younger so I could b’lieve him! (11.56)

Janie’s hopes and dreams wreck havoc on her emotions, which have understandably been traumatized by Joe. She no longer trusts her dreams to keep her on the right course towards love and his makes her question Tea Cake’s integrity. In a short time, Janie vacillates between ecstasy and "cold futility," and her vision for her future with Tea Cake oscillates between blissful happiness and shameful embarrassment.

Quote #5

Janie buried Tea Cake in Palm Beach…Janie had wired to Orlando for money to put him away. Tea Cake was the son of Evening Sun, and nothing was too good. The Undertaker did a handsome job and Tea Cake slept royally on his white silken couch among the roses she had bought. He looked almost ready to grin. Janie bought him a brand new guitar and put it in his hands. He would be thinking up new songs to play to her when she got there. (19.182)

Even though Tea Cake, the fulfillment of her dream of love, has died, Janie does not stop remembering him or conjuring up future dreams. She envisions him in heaven, playing his brand new guitar when she goes up to join him. Tea Cake is still alive in her dreams.

Quote #6

The day of the gun, and the bloody body, and the courthouse came and commenced to sing a sobbing sigh out of every corner in the room; out of each and every chair and thing. Commenced to sing, commenced to sob to sigh, singing and sobbing. Then Tea Cake came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees. Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl. Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. (20.12)

Janie makes the final association between her memories and her future dreams. Although she cherishes the past, she does not see the future now as a bleak place lacking Tea Cake. Rather, Janie’s envisions her future as a time to cherish her memories of Tea Cake and wait for the time that she can join him in heaven.

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