Letter 20

Synopsis of Letter 20

Harpo and Sofia continue to have fistfights. Celie witnesses one incident and comments that they are fighting like two men would fight. They do not even notice that Celie is there, so she leaves and returns home. The next day Sofia and Harpo take their two children to visit Sofia’s married sister.

Commentary on Letter 20

It is obvious that Sofia is physically equal to her husband and matches him in determination. The couple now have two children who are playing outside the house while the fight is taking place. The fact that neither child looks up from their game indicates that they are probably familiar with what is going on and do not consider it to be particularly important. Some critics see this as a comic incident, arguing that Sofia is an excellent mother and the children are unconcerned because they do not feel threatened or insecure. The fact that the couple leave next day on a family visit seems to indicate that this may be the case.

Investigating Letter 20

  • What have you learned so far about traditional notions of masculinity and the role of the husband?
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