to play checkers when they first meet, making Janie feel equal in power to a man she is interested in for the first time in her life. The game of checkers symbolizes the way in which Tea Cake establishes a new romantic dynamic with Janie that allows her to find a voice, feel empowered and reach the horizon
– it is a relationship that is completely different from that which she shared with her previous husbands. The game of checkers places Janie in an equal position to her lover, and symbolizes Tea Cake's fun-loving, playful worldview that excites and enlivens Janie's life. However, in checkers, as Janie herself notes, there is potential for cheating, showing the dangerous side of such a fun-loving approach to life, that ultimately brings upon Tea Cake's death in his decision to remain in the muck during the hurricane.