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The Color Purple by Alice Walker Essay

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker


The Color Purple by Alice Walker is the story of a poor black woman living in the south between World War 1 and World War 2. This was at a time when, although slavery had ended,many women were still virtually in bondage, and had to put up with many conditions that was reminiscent of the days of slavery. The problem was that they had to endure being treated like an inferior being by their own families sometimes, as well as from the white people that lived there. It was a life that was filled with misery for many black women, and they felt helpless to do anything about their situations.
The book focuses mainly on a woman named Celie, who has lived a hard life already when, at the age of 14 she begins writing letters to God to have someone to confide in,and tell her thoughts and secrets to. In her first letter, she says “I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.” (1) Already at that age she has been taking care of her brothers and sister, and has been working very hard at trying to get something of an education. On top of this, she has been raped by her father repeatedly because, as he says, “You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t.” (1)

She has had two babies by him already, and he’s taken both of them away right after they were born. She thinks at first he might have killed one of them, but later finds out that he sold them to a couple in town. Celie doesn’t do anything about her situation, because she’s used to being treated like that. She’s scared, and she fears for her sister Nettie too, when her Pa starts looking at her the same way. Eventually, a man referred to as Mr. ______ comes along and wants to marry Nettie, but he’s too old for her, and ends up marrying Celie. He takes a couple of months to think it over, but goes ahead and marries her because he needs someone to watch over his kids, and besides, she will bring the cow she was raising along. It’s not so much he wants a relationship, he just wants someone to take care of things for him so he doesn’t have to do much, and he wants something else when he wants it. Her father even tells Mr. ____ that “She ugly... But she ain’t no stranger to hard work. And she clean. And God fixed her. You can do everything just like you want to and she ain’t gonna make you feed it or clothe it.” (9)

As soon ...


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...inds that she can be happy and content having her own life, without being treated like a doormat by others. She is finally truly happy with her life and the way it is going, except for one thing. Her life is complete when, after years of wondering about her sister, and then years of waiting, Nettie finally comes home, bringing “their” children, and Adam’s wife from Africa. As Celie puts it, “I feel a little peculiar around the children. For one thing, they grown. And I see they think me and Nettie and Shug and Albert and Samuel and Harpo and Sophia and Jack and Odessa real old and don’t know much what going on. But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.”(295) With her long lost sister, and her kids reunited with her after so much time, there really wouldn’t be any other way to feel besides young again, except for maybe an urge to make up for lost time. Now that she’s being treated like she should be, it should be easier to make up the time to her family, because she can be herself, and be happy about it. That’s saying a lot after all she’s been through, and Celie will surely make the best of her from this point on.


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