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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God


by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Vergible "Tea Cake" Woods Quotes

[Tea Cake to Janie:] "Jes lak uh lil girl wid her Easter dress on. Even nice!" He locked the door and shook it to be sure and handed her the key. "Come on now, Ah’ll see yuh inside yo’ door and git on down de Dixie." (10.60)

Even though Tea Cake tries to treat men and women equally, he still unconsciously considers women weaker than men; he assumes they require men to escort them back home safely. He calls Janie a "lil girl wid her Easter dress on," somewhat diminishing her image and seriousness. Though chivalric, Tea Cake’s language and offer to walk Janie home might be read as sexist. Or, we could read it as his way of attempting to get an invitation to come inside her home.

[Tea Cake:] "Put dat two hundred back wid de rest, Janie. Mah dice. Ah no need no assistance tuh help me feed mah woman. From now on, you gointuh eat whutever mah money can buy uh and wear de same. When Ah ain’t got nothin’ you don’t git nothin’."

"Dat’s all right wid me." (13.76-77)

Tea Cake demonstrates his strong sense of masculinity by making "[his] woman," Janie, financially dependent on him. He takes pride in being able to provide for a woman who has lived such a privileged life. Although Janie never seems conflicted about living a poor life with Tea Cake, she kind of has to agree to live by what he provides or severely damage his pride.

[Tea Cake:] "You don’t have tuh say, if it wuzn’t fuh me, baby, cause Ah’m heah, and then Ah want yuh tuh know it’s uh man heah." (18.109)

Tea Cake considers himself a man because he is always there for Janie and willing to perform all sorts of gallantries for her.