In the tenth chapter Hurston introduces a new character who will have a significant effect on the remainder of the novel. A tall man in his mid-twenties arrives at Janie's store one day while everyone else in town has gone to a ball game. After buy some cigarettes he asks Janie to play checkers with him. Although Janie insists she has never played, the stranger teaches her; for the first time in years Janie "found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play" (91). The stranger - who finally introduces himself as Tea Cake, a.k.a. Vergible Woods - stays with Janie until the store closes. For a more detailed look at Tea Cake's character, please see the Character Profiles section.
Their Eyes Were Watching God: Novel Summary: Chapter 10