Analysis Of ' The Color Purple ' Essay

Analysis Of ' The Color Purple ' Essay

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The most prominent form of the celebration of the strength of women in ‘The Color Purple’ are the characters individual quests to find their identity. Whether the female characters are questioning their religion and it restrictions, exploring their sexualities, or trying to overcome the restrictions that being the ethnicity and gender that they are has entailed for them, they are all trying to define themselves as individual people, rather than a social, racial or ethnic group stereotype that seems to inhabit people both in the world of fiction and in the realm of reality. Walker’s character of Sofia seems to want to find her identity by not succumbing to the pressure and authority held over her by black men and Caucasians of both genders. The repeated term “colored”, used in the novel when referring to black people, both by Caucasian characters, Shug, Sofia and by Celie herself, is poignantly demeaning and dehumanising, as if carolling a group of people like you would cattle. That fact that ethnic characters like Shug, Sofia and Celie use the term just highlights how ingrained in the norms and values of society of the early 20th century racism; so frequent and common that it became seemingly normal to reduce all people who weren’t white to a colour, and the way that Walker portrays racism shows that it ran so deep that it became innate for black people to degrade themselves. Sofia’s strength and resistance conveys her want and desire to battle the prejudices and expectations that being a black woman has established her to have. When Celie describes her refusal to become ‘Miss Millie’s’ maid, her re-telling of Sofia’ blunt “hell no”, the reaction of the Mayor; “he slap her”, and the insinuation that she is beaten nearly to death a...


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...or “holding by beads in my hand”, this is symbolic for her being in control of her own life, whilst the “beads” have implications of rosary beads, as if they are what has allowed her to find peace with her demons, and being a woman in a predominantly misogynistic religion. This is also significant as it is the last poem before the epilogue, symbolising the journey of the character and her acceptance that she should be proud of who she is. The character finding herself through religion is also present in Senior’s ‘Love Orange’, as it opens with a bible quote; “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. This suggests that the girl should try to use religion to overcome her distress and terror, however her belief is shattered as nobody else believes in religion and ideals the way that she does, “for nobody, not then or ever could understand about the orange”.

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