Summary and Analysis Chapter 20



Because the people were so fond of Tea Cake, Janie stays a few more weeks in the Everglades, but home to her is still Eatonville. Thus, she returns from the Everglades in the overalls she wore to work on the muck. Now, the frame of Janie's story is complete. Pheoby reacts to Janie's tale by promising herself that she and Sam will spend more time together. Janie's story has indeed inspired her.


After Tea Cake's funeral, Janie stays in the Everglades, but it is too painful for her there, as the place only reminds her of her beloved husband. Janie gives away everything she owns except for a package of garden seed, a reminder of Tea Cake and his love for planting things. Janie plans to plant the seeds to serve as a symbol of the love and the life that they shared.

Janie's flashback ends, and the novel returns to Janie's conversation with Pheoby that began in Chapter 1. It is almost as if Janie's life story could serve as a lesson both to her dear friend, Pheoby, and to the readers of the novel. In her journey through life, Janie has learned two important lessons: People must "go tuh God," and they must "find out about livin' fuh theyselves."

Finally, Janie realizes that as long as she lives, the memory of Tea Cake will live within her heart. By the end of the novel, Janie has found the peace that she has desired for her entire life.


Love is lak de sea . . . it's different with every shore Hurston uses the simile to explain that love is different for everyone who experiences it.

fetid having a bad smell, as of decay; putrid.

commence to begin; start; originate.