After all dat sufferin', Ah haves finally found da luv of mah life.
In 20th century, rural Florida, Janie Crawford is raised by her grandma Nanny. One day, Janie notices the beauty of a pear tree and how the bees and the blossoms work in perfect harmony. This moment represents Janie’s sexual awakening and she proceeds to kiss Johnny Taylor. Consequently, Nanny makes Janie marry Logan Killicks who she believes will take care of Janie and provide security. However, Janie does not love him.
Holl-on tuh da cow Janie!
B-be careful Tea Cake!
Janie longs for a life of excitement and love, so she escapes with a young man called Joe Starks. They get married, and arrive at the first all-black town, Eatonville. There, he builds a house and a shop, and becomes the major. Their marriage becomes a toxic one in which Janie is oppressed: she cant dress freely, share with the others, and she is forced to work at the store. One time, Janie responds to Joe’s criticism about her appearance, and he hits her.
Putt down chu gun Tea Cake. Yuh is sick!
Later, Joe dies of kidney failure and Janie is lonely but enjoys her independence. Then, she meets Tea Cake, a young, charismatic man who makes Janie feel appreciated. Janie marries him, and they move to the Everglades. There they work picking up beans and Janie enjoys her life with the man she loves. Although Janie enjoys more freedom with Tea Cake and feels more like an equal, Tea Cake hits her to prove his dominance.
Oh Pheoby, Ah has been to da horizon n' back.
One day, a hurricane passes through the Everglades and lake Okeechobee floods. Janie and Tea Cake are forced to evacuate and look for higher ground. Janie falls into the water and hangs on to a cow with a rabid dog on top of it. Tea Cake tries to save Janie but is bitten by the rabid dog. After the hurricane ends, they return to the Everglades.
Janie notices that Tea Cake has been acting weird, so she calls a doctor who says he has rabies. Tea Cake becomes aggressive and tries to shoot Janie, but she shoots first and shortly after, he dies after biting her. Janie is accused of murder and in trial all her neighbors turn their back on her while the white women support her. The doctor, however, declares that Janie was defending herself and she is declared innocent. Later, Janie holds an elaborate funeral for Tea Cake.
After burying Tea Cake, Janie returns to Eatonville and meets her best friend Pheoby. The people of the town see Janie arrive, and criticize her appearance. Pheoby warns Janie that the townspeople are gossiping about her relationship with Tea Cake but Janie tells her that Tea Cake has died. Janie is finally satisfied with her life and feels that Tea Cake will forever be with her. She begins telling Pheoby her story.