The Color Purple
Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Tashi is very intelligent, I said. She could be a teacher. A nurse. She could help the people in the village.
There is no place here for a woman to do those things, he said.
Then we should leave, I said. Sister Corrine and I.
No, no, he said.
Teach only the boys? I asked.
Yes, he said, as if my question was agreement.
There is a way that the men speak to women that reminds me too much of Pa. (63.14-20)
Nettie recognizes that to the Olinka, her only value is her position with respect to men. Nettie is valuable because she can educate boys. In addition, the Olinka men, just like Pa, are very interested in maintaining their dominance over women by denying females education and by speaking down to them.
I curse you, I say. What that mean? He say.
I say, Until you do right by me, everything you touch will crumble.
He laugh. Who you think you is? He say. You can’t curse nobody. Look at you. You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, he say, you nothing at all. (75.9-12)
Mr.__ uses his usual tactics in an attempt to oppress Celie. Essentially, he thinks women are worthless, and therefore the sins that he has committed against her don’t matter.
Sofia and Shug not like men, he say, but they not like women either.
You mean they not like you or me.
They hold they own, he say. And it’s different.
What I love bet bout Shug is what she been through, I say. When you look in Shug’s eyes you know where been where she been, seen what she seen, did what she did. And now she know. (87.90-93)
Mr.__ and Celie discuss how Sofia and Shug, regardless of their gender, have managed to carve out a unique identity for themselves.