Censorship of The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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In 1983 Alice Walker made history when she became the first female, African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and The National Book Award for her novel, The Color Purple (Alice Walker Biography). The book, The Color Purple, also happened to be ranked number 17 on the American Library Association’s 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990-1999 list (American Library Association) The novel is frequently challenged because of inappropriate language, racism, physical abuse, rape, incest, homosexuality, violence, and sexism. The Color Purple is a fictional novel that is told by a poor black woman, named Celie, living in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century. Her story is portrayed through letters that she writes to God and then later on too her sister. In her letters she writes about all the pain, humiliation, and struggles that she encounters throughout her life. Celie’s sister Nettie, whose story is also told through letters that she writes to Celie after she runs away from home is in the book. Through all the pain and suffering in Celie’s life, her letters help her to discover herself and eventually find joy.
One of the prevalent issues in this book is the numerous sexual encounters Celie is forced or consensually involved in. “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.” (Walker 1) This is the dialogue that opens the book and is warning to Celie from her father. The novel starts when Celie was fourteen years old and is raped by her father for the first time. While she lives with her father and mother she has two children fathered by her father. After she gives birth to the children she presumes them dead after her father takes them. Later in the book readers find out that Celie’...

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Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Pocket Books/Washington Square Press, 1982. Print.
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