The Novel “The Color Purple”

Category: Literature
Date added
Pages:  5
Words:  1415
Order Original Essay

How it works

The Color Purple was a book that was set in the rural area of Georgia around the time period of the 1910-1940. The Protagonist of the book is Celie, the story sets around her life and the troubles she has faced. She has been verbally, physically, and sexually abused by several different men, leaving her with no sense of self-worth, no voice, and no one to run to. The common question that has individuals wondering is: Why did men during that particular time period treat women like objects? The answer is that men believed women were created to obey their rules, cook, clean, and procreate.

The narrative of the book is the power of female relationships; disbelieving nature of racism and sexism; and the disruption of traditional gender roles. The main characters assume and struggle with the gender roles, where women live in a male dominated society and their roles resemble a sex object. Women were terrified of men, Celie never looked at men because she was so afraid, she prefers to look at women because she felt more comfortable with them. The main character Celie represents the stipulation of Black women in the 1920’s, she cooked, cleaned, and raised children that weren’t even her own.

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

Women’s life during that time period was submissiveness, servitude, and domestication. For instance, Celie sates, “I don’t know how to fight, all I know how to do is stay alive.” That’s a common way woman felt; they never knew to how fight physically but fight to stay alive mentally.

Throughout the book the dominance and superiority are so deeply rooted in the male characters that they don’t even realize when they’re being offensive to their counterparts. For instance, Harpo thinks that he can make his wife Sofia obey him by beating her and believes he has the right to do so because he is the men and she has to do whatever he says; Mary Agnes wanted to be a singer, Harpo didn’t understand why she would want to be independent when he provides ‘everything’ for her in their marriage, and when Mary helps to get Sofia out of prison, her white uncle thinks that he has an right to extract payment from her in the form of sex, reason being women were sex objects.

Another example of the male dominance is when Nettie went to Africa and she talked about the Olinka tribe and their regard for women as worthless, only meant for childbearing, and deny them any education. They advocate the ritual of female genital mutilation, which means that women are men possessions, they’re incapable of enjoying any physical relationship when they are eventually given in marriage.

Mister lack of better words ruined Celie, she believed that the way she grew up was what a woman was supposed to do she wasn’t taught anything different. She was used and abused by men for majority of her life, she never said or did anything to defend herself instead she obeyed orders because of fear. Celie shrinks herself for the sake of pleasing them but forbidding herself of what she wants, however that soon changed. Celie started a trouser making business, and she had the courage to wear garments that are traditionally male clothing.

The act alone symbolizes the idea that men and women should be equal and allowed to dress and behave the way they want. She then gained financial independence, that meant she no longer had to be dependent on a male to provide for her. Celie finds Nettie’s letter and it inspires her sense of self by enlightening her of her history and of the fate of her children. She gradually gains the ability to understand her thoughts and feelings into a voice that is completely her own and no one else’s. Celie’s steps to finding her own voice culminates with her anger at Mister, where she curses at him for the years of abuse and humiliation, he put her through for so many years. The realization and new founding of her self-worth transforms Celie into a happy, successful, independent woman. She starts sewing as a way to self-express and turn into a profitable business.

After Celie was voiceless for so many years, she finally has found her voice and is content, satisfied, and self-sufficient. The help of Nettie and Shug certainly aided in Celie searching for who she really is, Shug made Celie feel that she was important and mattered, she learned to love and care for someone. Moreover, Shug acted as a mother to Celie she was the main reason why Celie gains a sense of self identity and importance.

Through Shugs, mentoring, love, and respect, Celie was able to grow and prosper into an independent self-thinking confident individual, she is now a stronger person because of Shug’s influence. Nettie’s letters empowered Celie and allowed her to get economic independence, the letters allowed the two sisters to connect and serve as a bridge to their love for one another. The relationship between Celie and Nettie is one of driven forces that pushes Celie to become independent, free thing, and a smarter woman. Nettie’s letters give Celie a sense of hope and teaches her valuable lessons, things she needed to get through the hard times of her life.

Nettie’s and Celie’s relationship shows how strong and powerful sisterhood can be. There were often times, when they were separated from each other for long periods of time but that didn’t change how they felt about each other, their love and bond was strong no matter what happened to them. Nettie knew Celie wouldn’t receive the letters; it didn’t stop her from sending them she didn’t lose hope that one day her sister will read them and see what she has been up to. Celie saw hope in Nettie, so much that she sacrificed herself to live with Albert. She believed that Nettie shouldn’t endure the abuse and beatings, she wanted Nettie to do what she loved which was teach.

The Color Purple had many key issues that were spoken on during that time period such as, gender roles, male dominance, racism, and sexism. Alice Walker provided excellent examples on the struggle’s women faced in the 1900s, more so African-American women. The book displayed the struggles that African-American women faced on a day to day basis, Walker emphasized that to be a black woman is more different than to be a woman. She demonstrated that African-American women’s life distinctly and the characters in their novels have endured beyond what one can think human beings can experience. Individuals reading The Color Purple and books similar to it; gives a sense of idea on why African-American suffer and the problems that they face.

Another important topic Walker writes about in her book is rape and incest. The main character’s great-great-grandmother was raped and impregnated by her master who turned out to be Walker’s great-great-grandfather. The women in the main characters family seem to constantly be taken advantage of. Moreover, this book speaks on issues that most people don’t know that goes on in the black community; gender discrimination, violence, racial attitude and sexual abuse. These issues are still going on, Walker brought them to attention so people can get a better understanding.

In short, The Color Purple told the story of a young African-American by the name Celie, she endured abuse for the majority of her life from the very people that were supposed to love and honor her. However, she could always count on one person that always be by her side and never give up on her, and that was her sister Nettie. The two were inseparable even if they were many miles away, their bond would never be broken.

Then, comes along someone else that makes Celie happy with herself, and that person was Shug. Shug helped Celie find out who she truly was within, Celie had much love for Shug she felt a bond that a mother and a child would have. Nettie and Shug both shaped Celie into an independent confident woman that wasn’t afraid to speak her mind anymore, she was finally able to live the life she wanted to live without a man trying to control her. After being voiceless for half of her life, she is able to explore the world around her.

Did you like this example?

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

The Novel "The Color Purple". (2020, Feb 10). Retrieved from