Their Eyes Were Watching God
How we cite our quotes:
[Elias]: "Yeah man. You and Janie wanta go? Ah wouldn’t give nobody else uh chawnce at uh seat till Ah found out if you all had anyway tuh go."
"Thank yuh ever so much, Lias. But we ‘bout decided tuh stay."
"De crow gahn up, man."
"Dat ain’t nothin’. You ain’t seen de bossman go up, is yuh? Well all right now. Man, de money’s too good on the muck. It’s liable tuh fair off by tuhmorrer. Ah wouldn’t leave if Ah wuz you." (18.10-13)
Tea Cake’s pride in making money and arrogant disbelief in the migrating Indians sets him up to be humbled by God and the hurricane. Elias’s offer gives Tea Cake an honest chance to show his humility before God, but he shuns it. Thus, Tea Cake is simply asking for some humble pie.
"Dese people had mo’ sense than Ah did," Tea Cake said, as they dropped to the floor and lay there panting. "Us oughta went on wid ‘Lias lak he ast me." (18.62)
Tea Cake, caught in the midst of the fearsome hurricane, finally regrets his decision not to go with Elias when given the chance to flee to safety. God’s divine justice brings his pride low and humbles him.
"Aw, twudn’t nothin’ much, doctah. It wuz all healed over in two three days," Tea Cake said impatiently. "Dat been over uh month ago, nohow. Dis is somethin’ new, doctah. Ah figgers de water is yet bad." (19.90)
Tea Cake arrogantly dismisses the idea that his sickness is caused by the bite from the mad dog. His impatience is an outward manifestation of his quick pride. This is the second time Tea Cake has overlooked a crucial fact (the coming hurricane and the mad dog) out of his masculine pride and he will be punished for it yet again.