| Quote #4
They began to dance, pressed in among the others, and each one turned his thoughts to the night that was coming fast. (1927.14)
Nel and Jude have just gotten married and they can't wait to have sex. This scene represents a more traditional view of sex (we assume that they have not slept together yet, hence the eagerness), and it offers a stark contrast to the images of sex we see in the Peace household.
| Quote #5
Well. Think about it. Suppose Shirley was all splayed out in front of you? Wouldn't you go for the hipbone instead? (1937.87)
This rather bawdy talk about this sexually unappealing "Shirley" shows us that while sex carries some pretty heavy weight in the novel, it can also be funny and light-hearted. Talk about sex is one of the ways Sula and Nel reconnect and reminisce, and this passage shows us that it doesn't always tear the women apart.
| Quote #6
Nibbling at each other, not even touching, not even looking at each other, just their lips, and when I opened the door they didn't even look for a minute and I thought the reason they are not looking up is because they are not doing that. (1937.180)
This is the moment when it all falls apart. Nel at first doesn't understand what she's looking at when she finds Sula and Jude together. But as she pieces it together, we know that things will never be the same. In contrast to the light-hearted banter about Shirley, here sex results in irreparable damage to the lives of the characters involved.