Uncorked Emotion and the Sweet, Sweet Tea Cake
As we watched Janie vent by Jody's deathbed, we clearly see how bottled up her emotions were. "All dis bowin' down, all dis obedience under yo' voice dat ain't whut Ah rushed off down de road tuh find out about you." Up until now we've never seen Janie speak with her own heart, everything was filtered through the mind of her grandmother. In fact, since childhood and up until now, she has spent the bulk of her time bottling up her emotions and masking her real, powerful self so as to shelter the truly inferior men that she was with. The only freedom of expression she exercised was so deep inside herself, that it often seemed she was living a big, convenient, lie. Of course that changed when she buried Jodie. For the first time in her adult life, she learns how to be alone, independent of the men she had to filter her emotions for, since their egos were too fragile to engage with her real personality. But now, "she'd lie awake in bed asking lonesomeness some questions." She realizes how much she hates Nanny, and how she is the one to blame for her bottled up emotions, how Nanny saw the world and the horizon, how she had "
pinched it in to such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter's neck tight enough to choke her." Tea Cake appears in the picture among the countless vultures circling Janie and her assets, and sweeps her of her feet with his down to earth persona, his total lack of regard for male superiority, his romantic and creative approach to life. Janie's freedom of expression thrives with Tea Cake as she finally finds an equal, a man that not only pampers her, but also truly loves and respects her personality. Tea Cake has enough charisma, and lacks the ego problems, which finally allows Janie to be herself. She becomes more self-aware, and once again returns to the intrigue of the unknown (that same mystic excitement she felt with her first kiss), and lets Tea Cake lead...
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