Book Review The Color Purple
The Color Purple was published in the year of 1982; the author of the book is Alice Walker. This book became the inspiration behind a film and musical. I watched the movie and fell in love with it.
The film featured Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and David Glover as Albert. The Color Purple was able to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Award for Fiction as well. The book is filled with letters written by Celie to God. She writes to him about her life and struggles. God is somewhat Celie’s best friend; she tells him all the things she can’t or won’t tell anyone else. I like that the author chose to create a personal relationship between her and God.
In the beginning, Celie writes about giving birth to her second child. She is only about 14 years old, yet she has been pregnant twice, which was a result of her being raped. Celie had a baby boy (Adam) and then a baby girl (Olivia). The father of both children is her father, Alphonso. Because Nettie and Celie’s mother was ill and could not meet her husband’s sexual expectations, he turned to Celie. Once the children were born, they were taken away from Celie, leaving her clueless to where they would go or if they would be safe.
After the passing of their mother, Celie and Nettie were left with their abusing father. Celie’s goal was to protect her younger sister, Nettie, from having to endure the same rapes and beatings that she did. Although Celie wished to protect her sister, soon other men were finding an interest in her.Change comes knocking on their door when Mister arrives wanting to marry Nettie, but ends up with Celie in the end. Eventually, Mister and Celie got married and she moved in with him and her new stepchildren. She did not receive and warm welcome, but instead was hit in the face with chaos and violence. After quickly coming to terms with her new life, Celie gets to work. Celie discovers Mister has a mistress by the name of Shug Avery who she becomes infatuated with. Everything Shug is, Celie wishes to be. She also dreaded leaving Nettie behind, but there was nothing she could do. I love the bond between Celie and Nettie. Alice Walker, the author, does a magnificent job at making the audience understand the relationship between the sisters. They are obviously all one another have and it is described and depicted well in the book. A great example of their shared love is when Nettie runs away from home to reunite with her sister. Unfortunately, Nettie could not stay for too long. Because Celie never heard from her sister again, she was under the impression that she was dead which left a deep pain within her.
Another important even in the book is when Mr.’s sisters come to visit. They both approve of Celie, which is not something she is used to. Kate, his sister, feels bad for Celie after realizing what she goes through in that house. She encourages Celie to fight back, which is an ability she does not feel she has. Celie’s self-esteem is very low due to the talking down she has had to endure her whole life by her father and Mister. So when she is told to have some form of control or confidence, this contributes to the evolution of her character. Sofia is also a contributor to Celie’s rise of independence. Sofia is the woman that Harpo, Celie’s step son marries. She is an independent woman who is unafraid to stand up to a man. I found it interesting many of the characters she stands up to are men and I did not feel this was coincidental. Standing up to a man is something Celie was incapable of doing and even seemed wrong to her. After settling their differences, Celie and Sofia became close. Yet, Sofia leaves after becoming fed up with the treatment she got from her husband Harpo. They would fight one another physically and verbally but she had enough. Once again, Sofia was able to do something Celie would never even think of doing-leaving her husband.
Shug is finally coming to town, but she is ill and stays with Celie and Mister. Celie is the one to take care of her, nursing her back to health. She loves everything about Shug; Shug Avery is the beautiful, independent woman she wishes she could be. All Celie’s life she has been beaten and controlled, while Shug is in control of her own life. Celie is poor, yet Shug is wealthy. They have many differences, but when Shug comes to town they create a bond. I feel this a very important part of the book due to the fact that the wife and mistress of Mister become fond of one another and even confide in each other. Two women from different backgrounds, find their similarities and help each other through their negative obstacles. As their bond grows, Celie tells Shug how Mister beats her when she’s not there. This makes Shug stay longer, feeling pity for Celie. Her pity turns into more of a sexual attraction and they find themselves yearning for one another in a more intimate sense. Shug could only stay so long before she had to move on to continue her blues singing career and had to leave Celie behind.
As Celie continues to write her letters to God, she goes on to inform him of Sofia’s return. Sofia initially gets into an altercation with her ex-husband’s mistress (Squeak). It is obvious Harpo is following in the footsteps of his father Mister, but they are both following the wrong path. Sofia then gets into a disagreement with the mayor who slaps her for being disrespectful to his wife. She retaliates by punching the mayor to the ground. The stand she took landed her a cell in jail and Sofia is then required to be a maid for years at the mayor’s home. In my opinion, this was a way for Sofia to feel like Celie has for a majority of her life. This is another aspect they could bond over. Celie was also able to build a relationship with the mistress of Harpo, Squeak, because they were both raped. Alice Walker finds a way to bring all these women back together and connecting them through life experiences. They are able to relate to one another, building a sisterhood that will last forever.
After about twelve years, Shug returns with her husband, Grady. When she returns, secrets begin to come to the light. Shug begins to question Celie about her sister, Nettie. To Celie’s knowledge, she is dead because she never heard anything from her after they were torn from one another. Nettie swore she would write letters to Celie, but nothing ever came. Shug confesses she has witnessed Mr. hiding letters from the mail. They manage to find the stash of letters, addressed to Celie, after searching through his things. After reading the letters, Celie is fully informed that her sister and her children are alive and well. Nettie, Adam and Olivia are together in Africa on a missionary trip. Nettie also informs Celie that the man they called their father was not their biological father, which means Celie’s children were not conceived through incest.
As tension and anger have built, Celie finally stands up for herself. She cursed Mr. out of pure hatred for the years of abuse she has endured from him. After being influenced by the independent women around her, she was able to do the same for herself. Shug, Sofia and Kate pushed Celie to be the woman she always wanted to be but was afraid of being. Originally, Shug was the blueprint of the perfect woman but overtime her flaws were revealed as well. These women grew together, filling in the gaps in each others lives. Shug backed Celie up, saying she would be taking Celie with her to Tennessee. Squeak announced that she would be going as well. After breaking free from the slavery she lived in all her life, Celie was able to live up to her full potential. Soon afterwards, Celie was reunited with her sister and children, making her the happiest woman alive.
The Color Purple tells the story of a poor, black girl in Georgia. Alice Walker presents a bit of racism, sexism, and the power struggle. She also depicts the struggle within oneself. I truly enjoyed the book as a whole. I love that not only was there a strong relationship created between all the characters, but there was also a relationship sparked between the reader and the characters. Walker had a way of making you feel for Celie as she lived in hell for years on end and I also had empathy towards Nettie. I also believe the storyline of the book was a success. I feel that everything fell in place and intertwined smoothly. Another aspect of this book that I fell in love with was the choice of the receiver of Celie’s letters. Walker chose God to be the character Celie writes to throughout the entire novel, which I find to be genius. There also letters written by Nettie towards the end. Many believe in a higher power and he/she always seems to be present and here it is in this book. In the beginning, Celie’s stepfather also tells her that she better not ever tell anyone but God, in regards to the children she had from him. She does just that.
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