Johnny Taylor was a poor young man who lived in the Florida area. Janie allowed him to kiss her over the fence. Unfortunately, Nanny saweverything. With Nannys horrendous background of sinful deeds done to her,she wanted the best for Janie. As she saw the kiss, the doors of life opened forJanie and Nanny wasnt going to have her make the same mistakes that she had. Yet, Nanny had been impregnated under the circumstances of being a slave andthis was not the case for Janie.
Nanny stated that black women were the mulesof the world, but she didn’t want Janie to be a mule. She wanted to see Janiein a secure situation before she died, and Logan Killicks could provide that. Janie did not want to marry Logan, but she did so because Nanny told her thatshe would eventually come to love him. Ironically, Logan wanted to forceJanie into the servitude that Nanny feared. Also, he was disappointed that Janienever returned his affection and attraction.
If he could not possess her throughlove, he would possess her by demanding her submission. At heart, his actionsarose from the fear that Janie would leave him. Two months after her marriage toLogan, Janie visited Nanny to ask when she would start loving him. Nanny beratedJanie for not appreciating Logan’s wealth. Although Logan pampered Janie for ayear, he began complaining that she was spoiled. That night, Logan criticizedJanie for being spoiled and lazy.
Janie voiced his deepest fears when shesuggested that she might leave him. Logan reminded her of her family’sreputation, hoping to hurt her feelings. Turning to these drastic of measuresblew Janie into a frenzy and she left with a smooth-talking gentleman that verynext day. Janie chose to leave Logan for Jody because he revived her dreams oflove in marriage.
Her first marriage had taught her that marriage and love donot go hand in hand. However, she still believed that love was the bestmotivation for marriage. Jody promised that he would never turn Janie into acommon pack mule. He promised her that she would reap all the benefits of hiswork. His words eerily echo Nanny’s dream of respectability and financialsecurity for Janie. However, Janie didn’t marry Jody because of these promises.
She married him because he inspired the feelings she had experienced whilesitting under the blossoming peach tree when she was sixteen and the moment herwomanhood became crystal clear. Ironically, Janie’s marriage to Jody was thevery embodiment of Nanny’s dreams for her. Unlike Logan, he did not make her apack mule. He gave her financial security and respectability. However, themarriage was largely an unhappy union. Janie could not be herself around Jody.
Moreover, Jody still used Janie as a garbage even though he gave her wealth andrespectability. So it seems that Nanny’s worst fears and her highest hopes wererealized in Janie’s second marriage. It was until one afternoon in the storethat she met a lofty yet handsome young man who went, strangely enough, by thename of Tea Cake. Tea Cake’s courtship was different from that of Logan andJody.
Janie’s first marriage was more of a contract of sale between Nanny andLogan than anything else. Janie’s second marriage was an escape from the firstone. Moreover, it was based on disappointed dreams. Jody courted her by talkingabout himself and his dreams.
Tea Cake, on the other hand, pursued Janie with amore romantic flair. Also, he allowed her equal footing in negotiating the termsof their relationship. Gaining personal freedom was a two-fold process. First,she had to be free in her private life, but she also had to free herself fromrestricting social attitudes.
Only then could she begin to heal the rift betweenher outside self and her inside self. She feels that what she has learned fromher relationship with Tea Cake cannot be conveyed through words. Self-realization is a personal journey that can only be made through gaininglife experience. Therefore, Janie acknowledges the flaws inherent in retellingher life, but she does not necessarily undercut the importance of having foundher voice. Neither does she undercut the benefit of sharing her story withothers. She doesn’t believe that her story should be the single, authoritativeguidebook to self-realization.
It can, however, inspire others to re-examinetheir lives.Book Reports