The narrator grows several different crops on the farmland he purchased with the settlement money from his father’s death, including watermelons, marijuana, and satsumas (a kind of citrus fruit). The fruit the narrator grows is so delicious that some people faint when they eat it. In this sense it is almost mystical or supernatural in nature. Indeed, the ability to grow such delicious fruit is one of the strange skills that makes the narrator extraordinary, even as he doesn’t qualify as a hero in any conventional sense and claims that he is “no one special”—and so the satsumas come to represent the character’s odd uniqueness. When Stevie and King Cuz catch the narrator hanging around outside Marpessa’s house, he tells them that it is because he wants to show her a picture of his satsuma tree—a comically innocent excuse revealing the narrator’s often sweet, childlike nature. Because no one can resist the narrator’s fruit, the men do not care that he is essentially stalking Marpessa. When Marpessa finally decides to take the narrator back, she drives up with satsuma juice all over her face, in a moment with clear sexual undertones. The narrator may not be traditionally masculine or sexually assertive, but the satsumas show that his love for Marpessa is perhaps even more powerful for its innocent sweetness.
Satsumas Quotes in The Sellout
I'm frigid. Not in the sense that I don't have any sexual desire, but in the obnoxious way men in the free-love seventies projected their own sexual inadequacies onto women by referring to them as "frigid" and "dead fish." I'm the deadest of fish. I fuck like an overturned guppy. A plate of day-old sashimi has more "motion of the ocean" than I do. So on the day of the shooting and drive-by orange-ing, when Marpessa stuck a tongue suspiciously tangy with satsuma tartness into my mouth and ground her pudenda into my
pelvic bone, I lay there on my bed—motionless.