Tea Cake showed Janie a side of man that she did not know existed. He appeared to value Janie as an equal; he included her in formerly male-exclusive activities- according to Jody- and did not belittle her opinions. At first, Janie was skeptical of Tea Cake because of past experiences, but she quickly realized that her relationship with him would be different: she genuinely loved Tea Cake. Again Janie was faced with the disapproval of the town folk, since Tea Cake was so much younger than her. She discussed the gossip with her friend Pheoby and decided the love she felt for Tea Cake was more important than their opinions.
Nanny was dissolving this image by making her marry Logan Killicks. Janie was expecting to find love through her marriage with Logan, but instead discovered that marriage does not make love when Logan tries to force her to work. Janie meets Jody one day on Logan’s farm, and she believes that he will show her the world, and love, so she marries him, and leaves Logan. She soon discovers that all he wants to be is a big voice, and has only married her for his image. After Jody dies, Janie meets Tea Cake at her store; and, although he does not have a lot of money, she truly believes that he loves her, and will fulfill her life-long search for happiness.
As Janie and Tea Cake bond, Janie sees that TeaCake, a younger man with no richness, knows, accepts, and values her as no one else has ever done. Tea Cake is the only man Janie marries who cannot does not claim or insist to protect or solely provide for her. But Joe still takes a great deal of responsibility in the relationship. Janie also rightfully believes that who a person is, is more important than what he has. Only after Janie starts to trust Tea Cake, does Janie begin to free herself, and in fact feel eager, to tell her friend Pheoby all that has happened since she left Eatonville.
Tea Cake guides her to the ‘horizon’- to life and genuine love. He shares the world with her. His world is composed of feelings, music, fishing, gambling, good and bad experiences, and love. It is of significance to note Hurston’s choice of the word ‘strong’ in describing Janie’s feet. ‘Strong feet’ evokes the image of masculinity and contrasts with Janie’s attractiveness and femininity.
“He set it (the checkers) up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play.” Tea Cake proved he was not self-absorbed like Logan or Joe. He presented Janie with a chance to finally experience the love she has been pursuing her entire life. Janie had only known men who took pleasure in pleasing themselves; however, Tea Cake took pleasure in pleasing her.
He possessed charm and grace and had this unique ability to make Janie feel special. “Yuh can’t beat uh woman” Page 96 I like this line. It is so playful and flattering, and in my opinion…TRUE. Tea Cakes knows a little some thing about woman. He does not see them as trophies to be put on the mantle nor assets in a marriage or love affair.
Janie could wear colorful dresses and she could show off her hair, something that she did not do while she was married to Jody Stacks. Janie was finally free to love whoever she wanted to. As always, not everyone accepted Janie’s relationship, when Janie left town to marry Tea Cake, the town starts to gossip about how Tea Cake was younger than Janie, they also assure that Janie was being taken for her money. Despite all of the critics, Janie decides to continue with her romance, she no longer cares about the comments of people because she finds that her new husband loves and appreciates her immensely. “He kin take most any lil thing and make summertime out of it when times is dull.
She convinced herself that by the time she became Mrs. Killick, she would get that love, which turned out to be wrong. Nanny's biggest mistake is that she never consults with Janie about what she wants in life. Janie's second husband, Joe Starks, is a repeat of Janie's unhappiness in marriage. At first, Janie looked at Joe as a man who would offer her an escape from her loveless marriage with Mr.
“She even ridiculed him in her mind and was a little ashamed of the association. But every hour or two the battle had to be fought all over again. She couldn’t make him look just like any other man to her” (Hurston 106). Janie was cautious as she wanted to make sure Tea Cake was truly a good man, and that he would be the right person to marry (Their Eyes Were Watching God: Marriages & Analysis). Even though Tea Cake was poor and much younger, Janie decided to marry him, thus beginning her first marriage of love (The Concept of Love and Marriage in Zora Neale Hurston 's Their Eyes Were Watching God).
Although Tea Cake seem like the perfect husband for Janie, he took the abusive trait from Joe of showing that he was Janie’s owner: When Mrs. Turner’s brother came and she brought him over to be introduced, Tea Cake had a brainstorm. Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all.