Self-Reflection and Maturity in the Transformation of Celie in The Color Purple, a Novel by Alice Walker
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker tells a story of a young girl named Celie. The book is formatted as an journal so that daily experiences can be shared through the voice of Celie. In the beginning, readers learn that she lives in a life of recurring hardship, confusion, and turmoil. Readers also learn that she is insecure, but hopeful in finding a way to get through these hardships. However at the end of the novel, readers see a transformation that one would call inspiring. Some would say that what made her through this transformation is self reflection and maturity. However, from what readers can see it was because of the growing relationships with Nettie, Mr__, and Shug. Due to them, Celie is able to have a sense of dependency with her sister, forgive the people that hurted her, and to love someone else and herself.
In these entries of her journal, readers can see a shift from speaking about Nettie to God to where she actually has conversations with Nettie and they discuss many things as they write to each other. However the most compelling thing about some of these conversations, is that readers see how Celie has become more attached and more dependent on Nettie. . For example, in the ending of one of her entries she writes “ Pray for me, Your Sister Celie”, it shows that she looks for Nettie’s guidance as she is facing an adversity, similarity when she was looking guidance from God ( Walker 3). This shift also shows that Celie who she thought needed to protect her sister from adversity , has realized that she can not be strong all the time and can now look for protection in her sister because Nettie ended up being her strength.
Also in these entries, readers learn about what Mr____. feels about Celie. He explains to Celie, “ I wanted to kill you, said Mr___ and I did slap you around a couple of times. I never understood how you and Shug got along so well together and it bothered the hell out of me. When she was mean and nasty to you, I understood. But when I looked around and the two of you was always doing each other’s hair, I start to worry..” ( Walker 10). This quotation gives light to Mr______ and the his issues of acceptance toward Celie not meeting up to his expectations of her. Due to this conversation, readers see that Celie and Mr___ are similar in where they have issues of acceptance. In Celie learning about this, she has exclaimed that she does not hate him because by saying that discussion, this has made him into someone who she describes as “ when you talk to him now he really listen” ( Walker 7). Therefore, this discussion with Mr___, it has enable her to later to forgive Mr___ and anyone else that has harmed her.
In the beginning, readers learn that Celie finds a picture of Shug Avery and she makes the goal to be as beautiful as she is and finds herself embodying her in her marriage to Mr___. As she is a lot older now, readers start to see that Shug is with her and they a strong bond to each other. In this quote “ What I love best bout Shug is what she been through, I say. When you look in Shug’s eyes you know she been where she been, seen what she seen, did what she did. And now she know.” it shows that this relationship is embedded in understanding each others struggle and coming back from it with a new pair of lenses. Due to this, sees Shug as an strong, independent woman that she would like herself to be. This bond later taught Celie how to love someone else and potentially herself. In this quote “ My job just to love her good and true myself….I have love and I have been love and I thank God let me gain understanding enough to love can’t be halted just cause some people’s moan and groan….I have love Shug Avery all my life ” it sheds light on how through this relationship it has made her realize that God helped her understand that in order to love someone and herself , it should not be broken because of not so good experiences ( Walker 10).
Through out The Color Purple, readers see the development of Celie from a young girl to a mature woman. They see that as a young girl, she was insecure and she depended on God to help herself and help her cope through her disturbing experiences, but can also see her resilience and her dedication to the things that mean the most to her. Now as a mature woman, readers also see that her transformation would not have been as inspirational if it wasn’t through the influences of her relationships with Nettie, Mr___ and Shug. Through Nettie’s relationship she is able to have talk to Nettie, which enabled Celie to be more open with her sister and have dependence on her . As for Mr__’s she is able to understand him a lot more through their discussions, therefore, teaching her acceptance for the people that have harmed her. Lastly, Shug’s relationship is focused on the love they have for each other, therefore, teaches her how to love someone else and eventually love herself through God’s eyes. In conclusion, in any transition in life, people fail to recognize that relationships are crucial to the overall development of an individual. Whether these relationships are good ones or the bad ones, ( bad ones in Celie’s case) it teaches lessons that can not be taught through self reflection or maturity, but lessons that can be taught through the relationships of other people.
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