Their Eyes Were Watching God
How we cite our quotes:
Janie awoke next morning by feeling Tea Cake almost kissing her breath away. Holding her and caressing her as if he feared she might escape his grasp and fly away. Then he must dress hurriedly and get to his job on time. He wouldn’t let her get him any breakfast at all. He wanted her to get her rest. He made her stay where she was. In her heart she wanted to get his breakfast for him. But she stayed in bed long after he was gone.
So much had been breathed out by the pores that Tea Cake still was there. She could feel him and almost see him bucking around the room in the upper air. After a long time of passive happiness, she got up and opened the window and let Tea Cake leap forth and mount to the sky on a wind. That was the beginning of things. (11.81-82)
After spending a blissful night with Tea Cake and a lazy morning, Janie realizes how deeply she loves him. Her previous experiences with Logan and Joe have killed the innocent and childlike parts of her so she sees her relationship with Tea Cake as a chance to start anew; thus he is "the beginning of things."
[Janie to Pheoby]: "Ah’m older than Tea Cake, yes. But he done showed me where it’s de thought dat makes de difference in ages. If people thinks de same they can make it all right. So in the beginnin’ new thoughts had tuh be thought and new words said. After Ah got used tuh dat, we gits ‘long jus’ fine. He done taught me de maiden language all over." (12.40)
Disregarding her and Tea Cake’s substantial age difference brings Janie back to something of a childhood phase, where everything feels new. This rebirthing stage requires "new thoughts tuh be thought and new words said." While her first two marriages stripped Janie of her innocence, when Janie’s with Tea Cake she feels like a child again, her innocence and maidenhood are restored, as evidenced in the "maiden language" she learns.
But it was always going to be dark to Janie if Tea Cake didn’t soon come back. (13.16)
The fact that everything would "always….be dark" if Tea Cake doesn’t return shows just how much Janie loves him. She considers him the light in her world, much like the sun which is about to set.