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The Color Purple

Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple in order to capture and illuminate the hardship and bitterness African American women had to face in the early 1900s. Walker’s story is filled with very powerful and emotional experiences such as rape, physical abuse and verbal abuse, prejudice, the oppression of women, and hatred. The truth about men and women, blacks and whites, love and perseverance are revealed by Walker’s saga.  The Color PurpleThrough the epistle format, Walker demonstrates the transformation of a mentally, physically and spiritually abused black girl into an independent, strong woman.  

Celie is the main character of the novel and endures a great deal of pain. When she is very young, her stepfather impregnates her, and her two children are born and sold. Celie is then married to a man who beats her and sends her sister away, never again allowing the two to communicate. The only light that came into Celie’s life when living with Mr. was when Shug Avery came. The two women became involved in an intimate relationship and together they found the same love that each was lacking. Many years later Celie finally leaves the brutal life with her husband. She learns of her sister and children and that they are coming from Africa to find her. Celie’s dreams never deteriorate and she is eventually delivered from the oppression of her younger days.

The Color Purple is largely about “the role of male domination in the frustration of black women’s struggle for independence...” . Celie knows that her husband controls her, and she acknowledges this when she “think bout how every time [she] jump when Mr. _____ call [her]” . She does not know that she is able to confront Mr. _____ about the horrible ways in which she is treated. Because she desires to be bold, she envies her daughter-in-law, Sophie. She longs for the courage she sees in Sophie every time Sophie refuses to mind Harpo, her husband. Celie encourages Harpo to beat Sophie because of her brazenness. When Sophie asks Celie why Celie has betrayed her, Celie says, “I say it cause I’m jealous of you. I say it cause you do what I can’t”.  Celie cannot assert her independence, and because of her resentment of Sophie’s freedom, she wants to deny Sophie her independence.

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