How does race affect Janie and Teacake's relationship?  

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The relationship between Janie and Teacake changes when the pair leaves Eatonville and must navigate the treacherous nature of racism in the larger world. Within Eatonville, the pair is somewhat isolated from racism. Because Janie is "the mayor's wife" she is still somewhat protected from the realities of the outside world. Once Tea Cake and Janie leave Eatonville--first for Jacksonville and then the Everglades--they are faced with the injustice and hardships of racism. We see this is the gambling problems Tea Cake endures in Jacksonville, the reactions of Mrs. Turner and the diner owners in the Everglades, and most explicitly in the aftermath of the hurricane. Racism forces Janie to explore her surroundings on a level she could have never done in Eatonville. As Janie states near the end of the novel, "Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin sit heah in mah house and live by comparisons."

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