Janie Mae Crawford
Janie is the protagonist of the novel. Although she is African American, she flaunts her Caucasian-like straight hair along with her independent attitude. She walks through Eatonville in overalls with her hair down her back, illustrating her lack of consideration for stereotypes.
Janie's third husband and first true love. Tea Cake's youthful and vibrant thinking drops Janie to her knees. Though his attitude can almost comes off as chauvinist, Tea Cake has true feelings and understanding towards Janie. Tea Cake is not perfect though. He steals from her once and even beats her once. By the end of the day, Tea Cake is one of the most real characters in the novel. He does not really follow trends and has a true definition of who he is.
Jody, as Janie calls him, travels from Georgia to Eatonville to satisfy his ambition and hunger for power. Janie's second husband, Jody Starks is really searching for a trophy wife. A consummate politician and businessman, he is the postmaster, mayor, storekeeper, and biggest landlord in Eatonville. He treats Janie as an object rather than a person, and his death becomes more traumatic than the death of his marriage.
Logan Killicks is Janie’s first husband. Nanny arranges Janie’s marriage to Logan because she values financial security and respectability over love. Logan pampers Janie for a year before he tries to make her help him with the farming work. That's when Mr. Starks comes along and woos her with his promises of pampering. She leaves Logan for Jody.
Nanny Crawford is Janie’s grandmother. Nanny’s experience as a slave drowned her perspective of life with a strong concern for financial security and respectability. These values clash with Janie’s independence and desire to experience the world. Janie understands Nanny's concerns for life come only from love and not from harm.
Phoeby Watson is Janie's best friend in Eatonville. When Janie comes back to Eatonville after her travels with Tea Cake, while everyone else viciously attacks her in private, Phoeby comes to Janie as a friend. She listens to all of Janie's problems.
Mr. and Mrs. Washburn
The Washburns were Nanny's first employers after she became a freed slave. Nanny lived in the backyard of the Washburns' house with her children. It was at the Washburns' house that Janie realizes that she's not Caucasian, but African American.
The Town of Eatonville
The people of Eatonville have no civilization before Jody Starks gets there. He comes in and creates a city life for the people there. The people of Eatonville look up to Jody and the women of Eatonville are envious of Janie.