Oprah Winfrey as Sofia
Oprah Winfrey as Sofia

"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house! I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me."

Basic Biography--

Name: Sofia
Occupation: Farmer

Sofia grew up tough in her family, headstrong and proud. She never let any man boss her around and is a strong, independent woman in her own right. Even after she gets married to Harpo and has children, she refuses to bow down and obey him blindly the way Celie obeys Mr. ___. Sofia is known for her pride and her stubbornness and she is a foil of Celie in this respect. When Harpo gets too out of line, she simply takes her kids and leaves. However, her stubbornness does wind up getting her in a lot of trouble and she winds up in prison and later serving her time as a maid, until her children are grown and don't even recognize her.


  • Abuse
Due to the cycle of abuse, where Harpo grew up watching his father beat his mother and then beat Celie, he grew to believe that men were always superior to women and that when he married, his wife would do exactly as he said. However, Sofia was a strong woman and she had no intention of letting that happen. Sofia was physically larger than her husband and very smart and tough. When Harpo tried to beat her, she hit him back. She had no problem being a strong woman and she foils Celie completely.

When Harpo gets too out of line, Sofia simply takes her kids and leaves. She does not allow herself to be a victim and has a hard time understanding why Celie allows herself to be beaten down and abused.
  • Cultural Differences
Sofia is abused by the whites in her town. Although she feels as though she's overcome being oppressed in her family and community for being a woman by taking a stand on her own (her youngest child is not Harpo's, for instance), when she gets in trouble with the mayor after punching him, she is beaten within an inch of her life and thrown into jail. She is then put in prison and constantly abused by the white staff there. Eventually, through the pleas of her family, she becomes the maid for the mayor's family for the duration of her imprisonment.

While the white family takes advantage of her and expects her to love and worship them for being their slave, she survives on hatred towards the family although she is a good nanny even though she would rather be taking care of her own children. Eleanor Jane, the mayor's daughter, becomes devoted towards her even though Sofia attempts to drop all connections with her servitude after it has ended. Unfortunately, only her oldest children even remember her when she returns, and just barely remember her at that.

--page by Jacqui Wunderlich