The Characters of The Color Purple
The protagonist of The Color Purple is Celie. Celie is a poor black woman living in the early 1900s. Celie comes from a rough upbringing. Her stepfather, Alphonso, repeatedly raped her and when she became pregnant he would take her babies away from her. She is sold into an unloving marriage with a man who wants a servant more than a wife and is abusive toward Celie. In The Color Purple Celie goes through a transformation from a weak, abused woman to a strong, happy, independent woman.
Nettie is Celie’s sister. She leaves Celie to go to Africa with with a missionary couple, Samuel and Corrine, to preach the gospel. Nettie takes care of the missionary’s children, Olivia and Adam, whom she later discovers are her sisters children that were taken away from Celie by her father and sold.
Mr. _______ is Celie’s abusive husband. He keeps letters from Nettie that she sent to her sister in a trunk and doesn’t tell Celie that they exist for years. It is because of his harshness toward Celie that she finally stands up to him. After that he goes through his own transformation and tries to better himself. Shug Avery is a blues singer and Mr. ________’s mistress. Shrug becomes a mentor to Celie as well as a friend and lover.
Harpo and Sofia are married. Harpo is the oldest son of Mr. ______. He does not follow normal gender roles and has a hard time knowing how to treat his wife. He tries to be the type of husband his father encouraged him to be, by being abusive. It didn’t work out the way he planned. Sofia refused to be dominated by a man. Eventually, he and Sofia are able to work out their differences and continue in their marriage. Sofia not only stood up to her husband, but also the town mayor. She was sentenced to prison time, but was forced to work as the mayor’s maid for twelve years instead.
Other more minor characters include Squeak is a singer and becomes Harpos lover after his wife leaves him. Tashi is a girl from the village in Africa who eventually marries Adam. Mrs. Millie is the mayor’s wife who is a racist. Eleanor Jane is the daughter of the mayor who tries to be friends with Sofia, but Sofia is not interested in her friendship.