Struggle for Rights in the Color Purple

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Aug 18, 2023
Cite this
Category:Alice Walker
Date added
Pages:  4
Words:  1109
Order Original Essay

How it works

In “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker depicts the continuous, violent struggle for African American women’s rights. She effectively uses descriptive language, a sentimental tone, and Sally’s lack of an innocent childhood. Walker portrays the character Celie as someone who constantly struggles to stand up for herself. Celie is continuously faced with dangers and exploited by everyone, yet she manages to rise when offered help. The question then arises: does she accept this help or not? Moving forward, the author’s biographical information and historical context will be elaborated in 2-3 paragraphs.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

This may include the era in which the author wrote, gained recognition for writing, influences, etc.

In her book “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker explores the hardships faced by a girl named Celie, set in the early -mid 20th century (circa 1910 to 1930). Walker, born in the 1940s, authored this work during a time when women, particularly African American women, were not respected. This lack of respect and the advent of segregation severely impacted Walker’s life, a reality she recounts in her writing. “The Color Purple” tells the story of Celie, a character who mirrors Walker herself, albeit in a different time period and geographical location. Walker writes, “She eye Sofia wristwatch. She say to Sofia, ‘All your children so clean, would you like to work for me, be my maid?’ Sofia says, ‘Hell no.’ She says, ‘What you say?’ Sofia says, ‘Hell no.’ Mayor looks at Sofia, pushes his wife out of the way. Sticks out his chest. ‘Girl, what you say to Miss Millie?’ Sofia says, ‘I said, Hell no.’ He slaps her.” (Letter 37, sentence 13, Alice Walker) This quote encapsulates the racist and sexist attitudes permeating the society at that time. When Celie and her sister Sofia marvel at a luxury car, the Mayor approaches and asks Sofia to work as his maid. Sofia’s refusal triggers a violent reaction, a stark representation of the struggles faced by women like Celie and Sofia.

She also ends up almost getting killed and taken to jail, where she is later released, but it shows that in this time period, people do not respect black people or women, especially both. “That’s the problem,” she says. “Have you ever seen a white person and a colored lady sitting side by side in a car, when one of ’em wasn’t showing the other one how to drive it or clean it?” (Letter 44, Sentence 44, Alice Walker.) This quote talks about Celie not being considered the same as a white person and being friends, showing how black people are similar to slaves but not quite, and that they still feel as though they are always being watched and can never be fully realized as human beings. The first thesis point focuses on the descriptive language used in the book “The Color Purple.” I feel as though it is written as if I am in an olden time period and it also illustrates whenever something happens to Celie, I feel like I am there watching. The book truly makes me feel as though I am a part of Celie’s experiences and that the reader is the narrator, watching the events unfold.

“She [Mama] got sicker and sicker. Finally, she asked, ‘Where is it?’ I say, ‘God took it. He took it. He took it while I was sleeping. Killed it out there in the woods. Kill this one too, if He can.'” (Letter 2, Sentence 7, Alice Walker.) I could truly feel her emotions come through in this phrase. It talks about her child that she gave birth to, but the stepfather did not want and took the baby out into the woods and killed it. I could truly feel her pain in that sense, and I could feel her emotions come through the text. The second point discusses Walker’s sentimental tone towards the readers. Alice Walker shows a really good tone through this book, enabling you to feel the emotions coming through. Whether she’s angry or sad or even puzzled, it truly connects the reader to the book in the fact that you can read a book and experience the emotions as if you were there with her while it’s happening. “He beat me today ’cause he says I winked at a boy in church. I may have got something in my eye, but I didn’t wink. I don’t even look at men. That’s the truth. I look at women, though, because I’m not scared of them. Maybe because my mama cussed me you think I kept mad at her.”

“But I ain’t. I felt sorry for Mama. Trying to believe his story kilt her…” (Letter 5, sentence 1, Alice Walker). In this quote, you can sense her emotions overpowering her. She’s unafraid, but she feels intense sympathy for her mother. She perpetually grapples with these emotions and is uncertain how to act on them. Another poignant perspective to consider is her tainted innocence from childhood. Unlike the experience of a typical child, she encountered numerous hardships with her abusive stepfather and her mother. Being the older sibling, she shouldered responsibilities beyond her age and was deprived of a carefree childhood, a cherished privilege of most young ones. She yearned for it throughout the book, but it is clear she never truly had it.

“I don’t like to go to bed with him anymore,” Sofia says, “Used to be when he touched me, I’d go all out of my head. Now when he touches me, I just don’t want to be bothered. Once he gets on top of me, I think about how that’s where he always wants to be.” (Letter 30, sentence 15). This passage illustrates a challenging childhood where life’s ups and downs are heavily skewed towards the downs. Celie is exploited by her father, loses her own child, and is robbed of a normal childhood. Her concerns are too mature for her years, colored by fear and uncertainty.

In the book “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker depicts the life of a young girl named Celie. She endures a challenging life filled with labor and a disappointing childhood. She never truly had a regular childhood. She was tormented by her stepfather, who would later sell her for money. The burden of losing her mother at a young age also weighed heavily upon her. Celie’s journey demonstrates the intensities faced by black women in the 1920s. Her race and gender make her fight for respect even harder. Although she strives to earn respect and create a life where people will honour her, it only becomes a reality once she stands up for herself and escapes her past.

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Struggle for Rights in The Color Purple. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from