Monday, March 24, 2014

Sofia Wears the Pants

Christine Crider
March 24, 2014

Sofia Wears the Pants     
           I find The Color Purple to be incredibly moving as well as extremely difficult to read in some parts. One of the hardest parts of the novel to read was the destruction of Harpo and Sofia’s marriage. I loved them as a couple. Both defied their parents to be with each other and everything seemed to be going well at first. Harpo would whistle all the time from happiness. In many ways, their gender roles were reversed, such as Sofia’s physical labor and Harpo’s love of household chores. They seemed to be generally happy as a married couple, which I thought was a difficult feat considering everything going on around them. Part of the reason I liked the couple so much was because I loved Sofia’s strength. At the very beginning, she stands up to Mr. ____ and walks out claiming she doesn’t need a man. I also loved how much Harpo seemed to enjoy Sofia’s strength. The love and harmonious support within the relationship is what made the marriage’s ruination so difficult.

          Harpo is determined to make Sofia mind him due to his father’s marriages. He believes that being the man in the house is the most important. When his marriage is not structured the same way his father’s marriages have been, Mr. ­­­­­­­­____ suggests beating Sofia. Harpo takes it to heart and begins beating Sofia, although it does not go as planned. Sofia fights back. She tells Celia, “I loves Harpo... God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me” (40). His constant need to be in charge eventually causes Sofia to leave. It is upsetting to see, especially since Harpo seemed to be extremely happy until he allowed the influences of others to intercede. I think that this shows how much impact a parental figure can have on a person. All Harpo has ever seen is his father beating the women in his life. He tries his own way, but is constantly made to feel insecure in his relationship whenever he is not dominant. I think this is caused by both his upbringing as well as the culture that he lives in. Accepting a woman to wear the pants (literally) in a relationship is very radical where the novel is set.

          Another moment that I found difficult is tied closely to Harpo and Sofia’s marriage. When Harpo asks Celia her advice on whether or not he should beat Sofia, Celia says, “Beat her” (36). Right before her response she tells us what she was thinking, “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” (36). Celia knows that beating Sofia is the wrong choice, but she says it anyways. Her advice is not given to help, but is for more personal reasons. As she later admits, she is jealous. I think that this whole scene depicts the dichotomy of the difficulties of doing what is right and doing what emotion dictates. Celia, who is not a bad person, picked something that would clearly cause pain to two people because she was jealous. I think that this scene stuck with me because it is a real life experience that I believe many people have faced, me included. Doing what is selfish can be easier and more tempting than doing what is right.

          When I volunteer at Tunbridge, I see 5th graders who are dealing with very human emotions. They are constantly faced with the decisions of doing what is right or doing what is easier. While the decisions in class might not be as drastic as suggesting one beat another person, the kids’ decisions are still extremely important to them. These decisions can help shape who they are as people. That is why I believe that a positive role model and environment are crucial. Although I have never met their parents, I hope that they are great. I have met some of the teachers and can see how their actions and words help shape the students every day. I hope that none of these kids have some of the detrimental influences that Harpo faces with his father. I also hope that I can provide a positive influence no matter how small. I think these kids have amazing futures. They are bright and caring. I believe that Tunbridge is a great place for these kids to receive a great foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment