Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Janie and Tea Cake arrive in the Everglades, Janie is overwhelmed by how lush and different the landscape is from anything she's ever seen before. Having been there before, Tea Cake takes charge and establishes them with the job of picking beans before the impending rush of laborers arrive in time for the official harvest season. Tea Cake teaches Janie to shoot a gun and hunt, teaching her until she becomes a more precise shot than Tea Cake himself.
The fertile and new landscape of the muck mirrors the new and sexually vibrant (or "fertile") quality of Janie and Tea Cake's relationship. Their experiences working and hunting together situate Janie in a different and much less traditional dynamic in relation to a man. She learns new, non-feminine skills, and exceeds, and Tea Cake shows no insecurity when her skill exceeds his own.
Themes
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Janie fulfills the traditionally female household roles of food preparation and cleaning, but spends the days working alongside Tea Cake. Even though the labor is demanding, Janie finds it "mo' nicer than settin' round dese quarters all day," and compares the relative ease of their current lifestyle with the stress of managing the store in Eatonville.
Note how Janie doesn't mind doing manual labor when it is done out of love and shared commitment, in direct contrast to how she felt about similar work when being forced to do it by Logan, whom she did not love. Tea Cake has a kind of power over Janie just as Logan did; Tea Cake's power is one of love rather than force, which is a tremendous difference. But he still has power over her.
Themes
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Janie and Tea Cake's home is crowded each night with neighbors, who visit either to listen to Tea Cake's music, have conversation, or gamble. Janie feels satisfied with their being the center of the town's attention and even more generally with their new laid-back lifestyle in the muck. In this state of satisfaction, Janie happily hypothesizes about what the people of Eatonville would think of her new outfit of dirty overalls and work shoes.
Tea Cake and Janie's life together is defined by shared experience. This equality ironically emerges from Tea Cake's forceful presence over Janie, and is what leads her to feel this sense of newfound fulfillment. And yet Janie still wonders what "normal" society would think about her. She's not upset or concerned about it, but she is still interested in it. It still matters to her.
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