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Chapter 18

Janie happens to be home one day when she sees a band of Seminoles passing by, on their way out of town, and they warn her about an approaching hurricane. But the wages are so good on the muck, no one wants to listen. The next day, all sorts of animals are on the move, going east. One of their Bahamian friends stops by to see if Tea Cake and Janie want to leave; Tea Cake says he doesn't believe the storm will come. Most of the people on the muck were still there. In fact, Tea Cake and Janie have an impromptu party, where everyone dances and plays craps.

That night, the winds finally start, then the lightning and thunder. Tea Cake asks Janie if she wishes she'd stayed in her big house, where she would have been safe. She reassures him she didn't want to be anywhere else. Soon it becomes clear the storm is serious, and they - Tea Cake, Janie, and their friend Motor Boat - make preparations to leave, gathering up their important papers and money.

Outside it's crazy; large objects of all kinds fly through the air and the water is rising unbelievably quickly. Soon they are running for their lives; they finally make it to a tall house on a high hill, and they break in, as they need shelter. But the lake is rising too quickly - despite his exhaustion Tea Cake realizes they must push on. But Motor Boat is too exhausted, and insists on remaining in the house. Tea Cake and Janie leave the house and continue to run for safety. Soon they come to land that is completely covered by water, and they must swim. Janie isn't as strong a swimmer as Tea Cake though, and he has to bear her weight. They finally get to a place that's relatively dry, and Tea Cake is so tired he lays down on the ground to rest. Janie sees a large piece of tar paper roofing, which she decides to pick up to cover Tea Cake with, but when she picks it up, the wind lifts her up along with the roofing; she lets go, and is released into the water. She screams for Tea Cake, who sees a cow in the water near her, and tells her to grab onto it. But strangely, there's a huge growling dog on the back of the cow. Tea Cake dives quickly into the water to help Janie, and the dog is walking down the cow's back, apparently intent on attacking Janie. Tea Cake rises out of the water and seizes the dog's neck, but he can't control it and it bites him on the face. He finally succeeds in drowning the dog, and with the weight off her back, the cow is able to paddle to shore, with Janie hanging on in back.

Janie wants Tea Cake to have a doctor look at his dog bite, but he just wants to find them a place to rest. The next morning, Tea Cake remarks again that he only seems to get Janie in trouble; she should have stayed in Eatonville; she again reassures him she only wants to be where he is. She thanks him for saving her life.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


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