'Harpo say, I love you, Squeak. He kneel down and try to put his arms round her waist. She stand up. My name Mary Agnes, she say.'
This passage is from Celie’s forty-first letter. Squeak has just returned from an unsuccessful attempt to release Sofia from prison. The prison warden ***** Squeak, and she returns home battered and torn. However, Squeak is not defeated, and she makes an important act of resistance when she decides to reject the belittling nickname, Squeak, that Harpo has given her. She insists on being called by her given name, Mary Agnes. By renaming herself, Mary Agnes resists the patriarchal words and symbols that Harpo has imposed upon her. Walker repeatedly stresses the importance of language and storytelling as ways of controlling situations and as the first steps toward liberation. Mary Agnes renames herself to show her refusal to let the man in her life gain interpretive control over her.
'Us sleep like sisters, me and Shug.'
In her sixtieth letter, Celie is recovering from the shock of learning Mr. Blank, has been hiding Nettie’s letters to her. To help Celie overcome her anger, Shug positions herself as a very maternal or sisterly figure who protects and arranges Celie’s outside environment and makes sure Celie does not act on her instinct to murder Mr. Blank. Nonetheless, though Celie and Shug’s relationship becomes more sisterly and familial, the intimate and sexual side does not disappear. In Shug and Celie’s relationship, Walker shows sexuality to be a complex phenomenon. Celie and Shug are sexual with one another, but they are simultaneously maternal, sisterly, friendly, and loving.