The Color Purple: Novel Summary: Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Pages 49-74

The beginning of this section is marked with the arrival of Mr. __’s father.  This man hates Shug and tries to discourage the family from letting her stay.  He even suggests that Shug has a sexually transmitted disease, something he calls the “nasty woman disease.”
Yet Mr. __’s love for Shug knows no bounds.  This love seems to be contagious— quickly Celie also develops a love for her husband’s lover.   She admits, “For the first time in my life, I feel just right.”

Soon both Celie and Sofia realize that Harpo is going on an eating binge.  Quickly the young, once skinny man grows a sizable pot-belly.  After a few days of mystery, it becomes apparent that Harpo is trying to grow larger than Sofia, so that he’s able to beat her into submission.  This enrages Sofia, who decides to take her children and live with her sister.

Harpo tries to maintain an indifferent countenance, saying that he doesn’t care one way or another whether she stays or goes.  Soon Harpo builds a jukejoint, a bar-type restaurant which entertains townspeople in order to make a lot of money and forget about Sofia.  When Shug agrees to sing at Harpo’s, the club becomes an instant success, drawing more people that can fit inside. 

Eventually Shug announces that she will be leaving.  When Celie tells her that Mr. __ will beat her if she leaves, Shug agrees to stay.  It’s at this time when the reader realizes how much Shug cares for Celie.

Soon Mr. __ and Shug begin sleeping together.  This doesn’t bother Celie, since she doesn’t love Mr. __ anyway.  She admits to Shug that sex with him is without passion.  “He just do his business, get off, go to sleep,” Celie tells Shug.

Celie does cry, however, when she hears them laughing in the bedroom one night.  Celie is sad because she’s never had a good sexual experience with any man.  All she has known is rape and forced advances.

Later, Sofia returns to Harpo's with a big man on her arm. It seems that she has gotten on with her life, but wishes to return to say hi to those she loves. When Squeak, Harpo's new girlfriend confronts Sofia, Sofia punches her in the face, knocking out two of her teeth.

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