Throughout The Color Purple Harpo defies what society deems to be the proper way a man should act. Instead, being a very effeminate character, especially in the beginning of his relationship with Sofia, he defies the characteristics of a traditional masculine framework. Harpo takes his baby from Sofia and “He take the baby, give it a kiss, chuck it under the chin. Grin, look up on the porch at his daddy” (34, Walker) and acts almost motherly towards the child. Consequently, because of this nature Harpo is able to do more than what would have been possible, if he conformed to society’s expectations, such as having a positive relationship with his children. This is not something that would have be...
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...ne’s personality, they also constrain most of society to adhere to rigid, non-individualized roles. Strong characters are those which find strength to veer off these pathways and profess that one is not restrained by the images of society; one is only restrained by their own limitations. Harpo, Sofia, and Shug Avery all demonstrate this non-conformist attitude throughout the novel by persisting to break out of traditional and defined gender roles. Harpo with his tendencies to show a softer, nurturing side of his character, Sophia with her strong physical presence and Shug Avery with her unswaying desire to control her own life choices; all add to the depth of their characters allowing the author to explore avenues within this novel that intertwine these characters in multiple levels, breaking the traditional gender stereotypes that dictated relationships in the past.
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