The Color Purple
How we cite our quotes:
Harpo ast his daddy why he beat me. Mr._______ say, Cause he my wife. Plus, she stubborn. All women good for—he don’t finish. He just tuck his chin over the paper like he do. Remind me of Pa. (13.1)
Violence is an integral part of Celie and Mr.__’s marriage. Essentially, Mr.__ beats Celie because he has no respect for her or women in general.
Harpo want to know what to do to make Sofia mind. He sit out on the porch with Mr._________. He say, I tell her one thing, she do another. Never do what I say. Always backtalk.
To tell the truth, he sound a little proud of this to me.
You ever hit her? Mr._________ ast.
Harpo look down at his hands. Naw suh, he say low, embarrass.
Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let ‘em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do that better than a good sound beating.
He puff on his pipe.
Sofia think too much of herself anyway, he say. She need to be taken down a peg. I like Sofia, but she don’t act like me at all. If she talking when Harpo and Mr._________ come in the room, she keep right on. If they ast her where something at, she say she don’t know. Keep talking.
I think bout this when Harpo ast me what he ought to do to her to make her mind. I don’t mention how happy he is now. How three years pass and he still whistle and sing. I think bout how every time I jump when Mr.________ call me, she look surprise. And like she pity me. Beat her. I say. 1(9.1-2; 5-12)
Even though there is nothing wrong with Harpo and Sofia’s marriage, Harpo wants to control his wife. Mr.__ advises Harpo to dominate Sofia the way most men do, by using violence. Celie realizes that bringing violence into a marriage damages it, but she’s jealous that Sofia isn’t beaten and that Harpo can be married three years and "still whistle and sing."
[Harpo and Sofia] fighting like two mens. Every piece of furniture they got is turned over. Every plate look like it broke. The looking glass hang crooked, the curtains torn. The bed look like the stuffing pulled out. They don’t’ notice. They fight. He try to slap her. What he do that for? She reach down and grab a piece of stove wood and whack him cross the eyes. He punch her in the stomach, she double over groaning but come up with both hands lock right under his privates. He roll on the floor. He grab her dress tail and pull. She stand there in her slip. She never blink a eye. He jump up to put a hammer lock under her chin, she throw him over her back. He fall bam up gainst the stove. (20.2)
Unlike Celie, Sofia doesn’t become passive when men use violence against her – Sofia hits back. Once Harpo brought violence into his marriage, things just got worse.