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Freedom and entrapment is one theme that is presented in these chapters. This is shown by the greater freedom and equality that Janie enjoys in her relationship with Tea Cake, compared to that of her earlier marriages. Note what she says to Pheoby in Chapter 12 when Pheoby asks her if Tea Cake is dragging her away against her will:
Naw, Pheoby, Tea Cake ain’t draggin’ me off nowhere Ah don’t want tuh go. Ah always did want tuh git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh. When Ah wasn’t in de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hands and sit dere. And Ah’d sit dere wid de walls creepin’ up on me and squeezin’ all de life outa me. Pheoby, dese educated women got uh heap of things to sit down and consider. Somebody done tole ‘em what to set down for. Nobody ain’t told poor me, so sittin’ still worries me. Ah wants tuh utilize mahself all over.
This quote is significant because it develops the theme of how in marriage to Jody, Janie was refined and constricted, wanting her to act like somebody she wasn't, an "educated woman," with nothing to do except sit still all day and be controlled by their husbands. In her relationship with Tea Cake, by contrast, Janie has met a man who does not want to control her in the same way as Jody controlled her, and who is happy for Janie to be herself and accepts that as part of her identity.
Another important theme in this book that is developed in Chapters 10-20 is that of class and society, and in particular Janie's feelings about being a member of the social elite. She previously was a member of the upper echelons of society when she was married to Jody, but now she is with Tea Cake, she feels that being too upper class actually is boring and no fun because you are not able to enjoy yourself. This is why she is annoyed by what Tea Cake says to her in the following quote:
Dem wuzn’t no high mucky mucks. Dem wuz railroad hands and dey womenfolks. You ain’t usetuh folks lak dat and Ah wuz skeered you might git all mad and quit me for takin’ you ‘mongst ‘em. But Ah wanted yuh wid me jus’ de same. Befo’ us got married Ah made up mah mind not tuh let you see no commonness in me. When Ah git mad habits on, Ah’d go off and keep it out yo’ sight. ‘Tain’t mah notion tuh drag you down wid me.
Tea Cake therefore fears that because Janie has been previously a member of the upper echelons of society, that she might be "dragged down" by her relationship with him, and this is why he tried to keep her from the "railroad hands," who occupy a position much lower than Janie is used to. However, from Janie's experience, being upper class is no fun whatsoever, and so she is rightly annoyed that Tea Cake is trying to make decisions for her about who she can associate with. Freedom and class therefore are two themes that are developed in these chapters.
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