Under Gods Eyes

By
Some people think of their life what they have at the end of it. They spend all their life waiting for their ship to come in. Their ship may dock in the form of a successful career or in the form of winning the lottery. They may spend their entire life waiting on that ship to dock. All the years spent waiting on that ship to dock are just that – spent. When they look back over their life, they have little to remember except the days spent in waiting. Most times people discover that the ship that docked never seems to be as wonderful sitting in the boathouse as it did sailing out on the ocean.

Janie spent the first part of her life chasing a ship that her grandmother set in motion for her. As a way of poverty, Janie thought that she could settle for that ship. She thought that she could settle for a life first with Logan Killicks and then with Joe Starks. But both of these wanted Janie to be something she was not. They wanted her to forget her ship and take care of their ship. Logan Killicks made this very clear to Janie when he said, “Thought Ah’d Take and make somethin’ outa yuh”(30). His words hurt Janie enough to encourage her hesitation about leaving him and following Joe Stark. Once again, she thought she was sailing towards a new horizon on the ship of her dreams. She quickly finds out that the “big voice” of Joe Starks will all but sink her ship. She first realizes this after the lighting of the town lamp. She questions Joe about when the “strain will be over?” Joe quickly informs Janie that, “ah ain’t even started good. Ah told you in de very first begginin’ dat ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad, ‘cause dat makes uh big outa you”(46). Janie wasn’t glad. Once again, someone was trying to make some of her that she was not. Janie was not yet searching for her own ship.

But like the author says, “The dream is the truth. Then they (women) act and do thungs Accordingly”(1). Janie could only follow her grandmother’s wishes for only so long and then she had to “do things accordingly.” Janie wore her hair hidden and bit her tongue (as much as possible) for as long as she possibly could. In acting accordingly, Janie knew she had to tell Joe the truth about herself. She did this in his final minutes of living when she told him, “But you wasn’t satisfied wid me de way Ah was. Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowned out tuh make room for yours in me”(87). Before she announced Joe’s death to the world, she took down her hair and combed it out in all its beauty and glory. Janie would soon be ready to begin looking towards a new horizon as her ship docks in the form of true love.

Janie’s ship was Tea Cake, a smooth-talking gambler, who drug her off to the Everglades of Florida, but never tried to change a thing about her. The Voyage that Tea Cake took Janie on was not an easy one. The muck of the Everglade was not pretty. But Tea Cake wanted Janie beside him every minute. He told her, “Ah gits lonesome out dere all day “thout yuh” (133). So of course Janie, wearing overalls and heavy boots, starts working the muck right beside Tea Cake. And when Janie finds out that Tea Cake has been unfaithful with one of the younger field workers, Tea Cake settles the ship when he tells Janie, “You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die”(138). Janie loved everyday of that voyage because she so loved Tea Cake.

Janie’s voyage should have come to an end when Tea Cake died. It was her shot that killed him. But that shot was an act of love. The same love that Janie and Tea Cake shared with each other during their time together. Janie realized that her ship would continue to sail when she shares her story with Phoeby. Janie realizes, “He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking”(193). Janie did not spend her life waiting for her ship to come in as most people do. Janie found her ship, sailed it, and would continue to sail it as long as she had a memory of Tea Cake.





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