What does purple mean, other than its definition which tells what type of color it is, in the below paragraph:

Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-coloured puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-coloured minds. The grass looked wetgreen and pleased. Happy earthworms frolicked purple in the slush. Green nettles nodded. Trees bent.

This para is from God of small things by Arundhita Roy.

  • Earthworms are often a purple colour. They frolicked and looked purple. No mystery here. – Michael Harvey Nov 19 '19 at 13:51
  • No meaning other than colour, in other words. – Michael Harvey Nov 19 '19 at 14:50
  • You can read a purple passage but the text is the same colour as the rest of the book. What do you suppose a tea-coloured mind is, or how grass can look pleased? The text you quote is itself purple. – Weather Vane Nov 19 '19 at 15:13
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because although the cited text is "prose", it's highly poetical language (for example, minds can't be "tea-coloured", there's no such word as "wetgreen", and grass can't really look "pleased"). Which to me make this question as Off Topic as lyrics/poetry interpretation. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 19 '19 at 16:50
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    It's not at all hard to decipher. It just means that they are purple! Using this in a place where you'd expect an adverb "tricks you" into actually visualizing them - so it's striking language. – BadZen Nov 27 '19 at 4:31

Copular or linking verbs such as be, seem, feel, become, look, (when meaning seem) will allow adjectives to appear where an object would appear for another verb.

A device used in poetic or literary language is to use a non-copular verb as a copular one. A meaning of one of the typical copular verbs is being blended with the non-copular verb.

A possible meaning when this is done is become X by {verb} or did X and looked X while doing {verb}:

Happy earthworms frolicked purple in the slush.

Happy earthworms looked purple while the frolicked in the slush.

@BanZen expresses the idea well, the intent is to "trick" the reader into visualizing something.

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