Janie learned what it felt like to be jealous. A little chunky girl took to picking a play out of Tea Cake in the fields and in the quarters. If he said anything at all, she’d take the opposite side and hit him or shove him and run away to make him chase her. Janie knew what she was up to…. And another thing, Tea Cake didn’t seem to be able to fend her off as promptly as Janie thought he ought to. She began to be snappish a little.
”Whut would Ah do wid dat lil chunk of a woman wid you around? She ain’t no good for nuthin’ exceptin’ tuh set up in uh corner by de kitchen stove and break wood over her head. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die.”
Janie’s coffee-and-cream complexion and her luxurious hair made Mrs. Turner forgive her for wearing overalls like the other women who worked in the fields. She didn’t forgive her for marrying a man as dark as Tea Cake, but she felt she could remedy that. That was what her brother was born for.
“Ah hates dat woman lak poison. Keep her from round dis house. Her look lak uh white woman! . . . Since she hate black folks so, she don’t need our money in her ol’ eatin’ place. Ah’ll pass de word along. We kin go tuh dat white man’s place and git good treatment . . . Ah don’t want her round dis house.”