Comparing the Struggle Depicted in The Color Purple and Desiree’s Baby


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The Struggle as Depicted in The Color Purple and Desiree’s Baby  


The Color Purple written by Alice Walker and Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby, were written during different times periods yet there are many similarities on how the women struggled. Both stories depict women who experienced hardship, and through out it all they continued to show unconditional love.  In the two stories they have instances dealing with children that are quite similar.  It goes to show that novels can span totally different time periods and still could discuss the same things. 

              The unconditional love within families can be enough at times to keep people going during the hard times that they experience.  This holds true between sisters. In The Color Purple Nettie and Cellie's unconditional love for one another helped them deal with the troubles they both faced.  There unconditional love was shown through Cellie’s relentless writing hoping that one of her letters would get through.  At no point did she ever give up.  This love helped Nettie live with her verbally and physically abusive husband, Albert.  Desiree on the other hand not being blood related to the women she called her mother; Madame Valmonde still had a tremendous amount of love for her.  When Desiree’s husband told her to leave her mother said to her, “ Come home to Valmonde; back to your mother who loves you”.  This is showing that it doesn’t take blood to create a strong bond and that no matter what; unconditional love will always help you get through hard times.

During the different times that both stories were written the way that African Americans were treated were quite similar.  Back in 1909 when The Color Purple took place it was before woman were really seen as what they are and they were just figured to be a caretaker and a maid.  The fact that Nettie was black didn’t help because she was considered to be dumb while in fact she was intelligent.  During her years when she was married to Albert she with a little help of her sister Cellie learned how to read.  Slavery was taking place during the period Desiree’s baby was written in.  It was a horrible thing to be African American and a woman during that time.  When it was thought that Desiree was an African American her husband shunned her and wanted nothing to do with her.

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  In fact he was the one that turned out to be the one that had the African American genes in him.  The ignorance that he showed cost him his wife and his child.  Women in both time periods were treated like second-class citizens; African American women were treated worse.

The two women had experiences with children in the stories. They both had wonderful children that were not accepted in their society.  In The Color Purple Nettie was being a victim of incest.  Her father would rape her and then when she gave birth to his children he would sell the children to families.  While Desiree was in a seemingly loving marriage that didn’t change the way that her husband reacted.  When her husband noticed that their baby looked African American he became very angry with his wife.  He initially thought that she had African American genes when in fact he was the one that had African American genes. It was on his mother side as stated in a letter to his father from his mother “Armond will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed wit the brand of slavery” Before he figured this out, he had already sent his wife and child away never to be seen again.    Everyday there are people that aren’t accepted didn’t only happen during the writing of these novels. 

The two novels The Color Purple and Desiree’s baby gave the reader a good representation of the struggles that African American’s and women went through.  Times have surely changed since then. In order to move forward you must always understand your past. These two novels give the reader a great representation of what life was like back than.  The power of unconditional was a great force to help the women and the African American deal with the horrible trouble they experienced during their struggles. The lesson of the two books is that the power of love to enable people to overcome hurt and hardship.


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