Study Guide

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 10

By Zora Neale Hurston

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Chapter 10

  • One day, the whole town leaves to attend a baseball game in Winter Park, including Hezekiah. Janie tends to the store by herself.
  • In the evening, a man walks in, and they immediately hit it off. He’s charming and claims to have come to the wrong town looking for the ball game.
  • Then, he invites Janie to play checkers. Since she doesn’t know how to play, he teaches her, and she’s delighted that a man thinks it natural for a woman to play as his equal.
  • Janie gets excited about him. He’s everything a girl could want—tall, dark, handsome, not misogynistic, and so different than her old, fat, dominating husbands.
  • They joke around for the whole evening, and we learn that this man has a high opinion of women, saying they can do the same things as men—play checkers, walk far, ride a train.
  • Eventually, we learn the stranger’s name is Vergible Woods, but he goes by Tea Cake.
  • He ends up helping her close up the store and walks her home.
  • Though Janie is cautious, she finds herself very comfortable around him, as if she has known him her whole life.

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