Janie is married three times and in each marriage her husbands are different in the way they interact with her. Tea Cake’s character is remarkably distinct from those of Logan’s and Joe’s. Rather than revolting and stifling her, Tea Cake encourages Janie and allows her to be her true self.
Tea Cake allows Janie to have a voice. He converses with her and listens to what she has to say. He connects with her, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. This contrasts with the way Joe smooth talks and charms Janie when they first meet. He convinces her that they will accomplish great things together.
He would buy her fine things and she would be the “mayors wife”. But little does Janie know that this means she will be his quiet and obeying wife. The night of the town meeting arrives when Joe is announced mayor of Eatonville. Janie is encouraged to give a speech as the mayor’s wife, but Joe doesn’t agree. Joe says, “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments but mah wife don’t know nothyn’ ‘bout no speech-makin. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat”. Joe obviously doesn’t care about Janie having a voice. Joe never had any conversations with Janie other than those regarding the store or the town. Janie wants a life where she can speak freely. Joe hinders her personal journey by not encouraging her to have that voice and be her own person.
Tea Cake treated Janie as a partner. They were equal in their relationship. They played checkers together and had picnics. He and Janie did mostly everything together. He asked her to join him bean picking because he missed her during the day when he was away. He wanted her to join him not as a worker but as an opportunity to spend more time with her.
Logan Killicks had to have control of Janie. He was demanding and wanted her to be a good and obeying wife. Logan wanted Janie to cook, work, and clean. He never tried to get to know her or fall in love with her. He thought that by providing her…