Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Janie leaves Eatonville and meets Tea Cake in Jacksonville, where he's been waiting for her. Free from their past in Eatonville, Janie and Tea Cake finally marry. Even though Janie feels "so glad she was scared of herself," she neglects to share everything with Tea Cake – she neglects to tell him about the stash of two hundred dollars she had brought with her, pinned inside of her shirt.
Janie's newfound happiness with Tea Cake is a product of her listening to her desires, though it is still an emotional state characterized by ambivalence: that is, her feeling that she is "so glad she was scared of herself" foreshadows the danger and instability of Janie's intense love for Tea Cake, a kind of love that is the polar opposite of Nanny's view of marriage as a source of safety and stability.
Themes
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
The next morning, Tea Cake leaves early in the morning, leaving Janie to ponder his whereabouts. Thinking still that Tea Cake simply went out to find fish to fry for breakfast, Janie is worried when he doesn't return for many hours. Janie spends the rest of the day and night anxiously thinking about Mrs. Tyler and her experience being cheated by the young and charming Who Flung. Janie determines that no matter what, she is too proud ever to return to Eatonville and be the object of public judgment and laughter.
Yet Janie's decision to hide money from her new husband, and the anxiety she feels as she thinks of Mrs. Tyler and waits for the disappeared Tea Cake to return, show that Janie also doubts where her desires may lead her. And Janie is still motivated by the perceptions of others. Earlier she feared them and was silent, now she is defiant of them, but in either case she is still reacting to those judgments. They are still dictating her actions.
Themes
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
After Janie takes a nap, still waiting anxiously, she hears Tea Cake outside playing guitar. He admits to Janie that he found the money in her shirt, and excitedly spent it on a celebratory dinner for himself and his fellow railroad laborers at his job. Without expressing disappointment about the money itself, Janie expresses simply that she felt left and excluded. Tea Cake rationalizes his poor judgment by telling Janie that he wished to hide his friends from her, as he worried they were too lowly for a woman of such high status. Still without expressing scorn about the stolen money, Janie simply expresses that she wants to be a part of all aspects of Tea Cake's life.
Tea Cake's decision to steal Janie's money is not malicious, but a testament to his completely untraditional approach to life – he prioritizes spontaneous play over anything serious, and seldom thinks ahead. For all of her anxiety, though, Janie is still in a new and improved state of mind: she is able to express herself to Tea Cake, a feeling unknown to her in her previous two marriages.
Themes
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tea Cake listens to Janie and promises to reimburse her for the money he stole. When Tea Cake leaves on Saturday night to go gamble, Janie finds herself worrying about Tea Cake's gambling habit, but manages to comfort herself, "It was part of him, so it was all right." A disheveled Tea Cake finally returns the following morning with a cut face and a wad of cash. Tea Cake's injury upsets Janie, though her fear is suddenly quelled when she and Tea Cake count his money (over three hundred dollars) together: she says he is "the Paymaster" and immediately tells him about the rest of her money in the bank. Tea Cake tells Janie that he will not need to touch any more of her money, as he will find work picking beans and tomatoes when they go to the muck – the Everglades. After their conversation, Janie feels "a self-crushing love," as "her soul crawled out from its hiding place."
Tea Cake listens to Janie and responds. It's a simple thing, but not anything Janie had ever known before. And Tea Cake also makes it clear that he's not interested in Janie's money, freeing her from that fear (planted by the judgment of others). And in response Janie feels "self-crushing love", a description of love that speaks to the paradoxical nature of her new state of happiness with Tea Cake: on the one hand she is now experiencing a state of sexual and relationship fulfillment that she had always yearned for and had never been a part of her previous marriages; on the other, she loves Tea Cake so much that she is also giving up some part of her individuality. Janie's love for Tea Cake both empowers her and gives him power over her.
Themes
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
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