Le Rapport de Brodeck

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Philippe Claudel

Tea Cake—Tea Cake does not arrive in the narrative until the last quarter—but his character is anticipated from the very beginning of the novel, referenced by the porch sitters, who suspect that Tea Cake has left Janie. Of course, the truth is just the opposite. Tea Cake never abandoned Janie, and Janie is confident that he is waiting for her in the next life.

Tea Cake is Janie’s kindred spirit. He is an eternally youthful type like Janie. He meets Janie some months after Joe dies and attracts her with his easy manners and happy-go-lucky charm. He has no worldly ambition. He appreciates beauty and nature. The sit up late talking and laughing, admiring the moon and the nighttime. But Tea Cake is just the same in daytime too. In Tea Cake, Janie finds the dream of love that she longed for as a little girl.

Tea Cake also teaches Janie all sorts of new things: he teaches her to play checkers, to hunt, to get along with the workers in the Everglades. Tea Cake allows Janie to be her natural self. He contrasts sharply with Joe, who always forced Janie to cover up her nature.

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