Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
You all know that I LOVE me some Their Eyes Were Watching God.
A couple of weeks ago, Mark Anthony Neal posted a piece about Tea Cake as an Imagined Black Feminist Manhood.
I like the idea of taking Tea Cake for this purpose. However, I was insistent that Tea Cakes violence be dealt with front and center.
In particular, I took issue with the fact that Neal rephrased the beating as occasional hitting. Which was problematic.
We went back and forth over it, and he came to see my point about the importance of violence being acknowledged and I acknowledged that Tea Cake represents a possibility, not perfection. But I been on the symbolism of Janie and Tea Cake since January. TC and J helped me open my heart to Loving and being Loved again.
So, you know the historian in me went back and re-read the passage where Tea Cake beat Janie. I was actually light weight mortified and reaffirmed that I stuck to my guns because of the explicitness regarding his motivations and reaffirmed. Hurston writes,
When Mrs. Turners brother came and she brought him over to be introduced, Tea Cake had a brainstrom. Before week was over had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relived that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss. Everybody talked about it the next day in teh fields. It aroused a sort of envy in both men and women. The way he petted and pampered her as if those two or three face slaps had nearly killed her made the women see visions and the helpless way she hung on him made the men see dreams.
"Tea Cake you sho is a lucky man," Sop-de-Bottom told him. "Uh person can see every place you hit her. Ah bet she never raised her hand tuh hit yuh back, neither. Take some uh dese ol' rusty black women and dey would fight yuh all night long and next day. Nobody couldn't tell you ever hit 'em. Dat's de reasons Ah doe quit beatin' mah woman. You can't make no mark on 'em at all. Lawd! Wouldn't Ah love tuh whip uh tender woman lak Janie! Ah bet she don't even holler. She jus cries Tea Cake.
What was bugged out was when I re-read it, its like he beat her on general principal. Like I'm insecure, so let me knock the shit out of you a little bit and let everybody know wassup. #ummp.
Thoughts about Tea Cake and Janie?
Remember when I went from looking for Tea Cake to becoming Janie?
Josephine recently said that she BEYOND becoming Janie, ummhmm.