The Color Purple
How we cite our quotes:
He [Pa] never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t. First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it. (1.4)
When she is barely fourteen, Celie is raped by her father. Her first introduction to sex is a violent experience meant only to gratify Pa.
I don’t like to go to bed with him no more, she [Sofia] say. Used to be when he touch me I’d go all out my head. Now when he touch me I just don’t want to be bothered. Once he git on top of me I think bout how that’s where he always want to be. She sip her lemonade. I use to love that part of it, she say. I use to chase him home from the field. Git all hot just watching him put the children to bed. But no more. Now I feel tired all the time. No interest.
Now, now, I say. Sleep on it some, maybe it come back. But I say this just to be saying something. I don’t know nothing bout it. Mr.__________ clam on top of me, do his business, in ten minutes us both sleep. Only time I feel something stirring down there is when I think bout Shug. And that like running to the end of the road and it turn back on itself.
You know the worst part? she say. The worst part is I don’t think he notice. He git up there and enjoy himself just the same. No matter what I’m thinking. No matter what I feel. It just him. Heartfeeling don’t even seem to enter into it. She snort. The fact he can do it like that make me want to kill him. (30.15-17)
Sofia has lost all interest for Harpo—and she doesn’t think he even notices. Sofia, like many of the other female characters in this novel, only wants sex when it involves love and affection. The male characters, on the other hand, use sex just for the physical experience or as a means of dominating women.
She ast me, Tell me the truth, she say, do you mind if Albert sleep with me? I think, I don’t care who Albert sleep with. But I don’t say that.
I say, You might git big again.
She say, Naw, not with my sponge and all.
You still love him, I ast.
She say, I got what you call a passion for him. If I was ever going to have a husband he’d a been it….
You like to sleep with him? I ast.
Yeah, Celie she say, I have to confess, I just love it. Don’t you?
Naw, I say. Mr._______ can tell you, I don’t like it at all. What is it like? He git up on you, heist your nightgown round your waist, plunge in. Most times I pretend I ain’t there. He never know the difference. Never ast me how I feel, nothing. Just do his business, get off, go to sleep.
She start to laugh. Do his business, she say. Do his business. Why, Miss Celie. You make it sound like he going to the toilet on you.
That what it feel like, I say.
She stop laughing.
You never enjoy it at all? she ast, puzzle. Not even with your children daddy?
Never, I say.
Why Miss Celie, she say, you still a virgin. (35.5-19)
Shug can’t imagine exe without pleasure. She declares that if you don’t enjoy sex, then it’s as if you’ve never had sex at all. Celie is still a virgin.