Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

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Celie's Pain in The Color Purple


Molestation is a topic that is painful to think about, and even more difficult to write about. Yet Alice Walker chose this as the central theme of her novel The Color Purple. Walker's work centers around a poor African American girl Celie. Celie keeps a diary, and the first section of the novel is an excerpt from her diary. After reading the excerpt, the reader comes to realize that Celie is a fourteen-year-old girl who has been molested by her father. Through this, she has lost her innocence as well as her self-worth, evident when the reader sees that the diary's words have been altered to say "I have always been a good girl" as opposed to "I am a good girl." From the moment her father molested her, Celie ceased to see herself as a good person.

The events following the molestation only serve to lower Celie's confidence and hurt her relationship with her father. Her sister Nettie attempts to protect her, Nettie being the closest thing to a best friend that Celie has at this point. Nettie is the only person in Celie's life who cares enough about her to stand up to their father.

"The first time I got big Pa took me out of school. He never care that I love it. He say 'You too dumb to keep going to school'. But Pa, Nettie say, crying, Celie smart too. Even Miss Beasley say so." Nettie gets Miss Beasley to go to the house to convince 'Pa' "She see how tight my dress is, she stop talking and go"

The way Celie writes in her Diary reflects her lack of education and class status. She writes in the most basic and colloquial language that she would use when speaking. She spells many words incorrectly such as "git" and "Naw". She also uses her words in the wrong tense saying " I say" instea...


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...Purple." PMLA 106 (1991): 1106-15.

Berlant, Lauren. "Race, Gender, and Nation in The Color Purple." Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 831-59.

Bobo, Jacqueline. "Sifting through the Controversy: Reading The Color Purple." Callaloo 12 (1989): 332-42.

Butler-Evans, Elliott. Race, Gender, and Desire: Narrative Strategies in the Fiction of Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1989.

Froula, Christine, "The Daughter's Seduction: Sexual Violence and Feminist Theory." Signs 2 (1986): 621-44.

Hooks, bell. "Writing the Subject: Reading The Color Purple." Reading Black, Reading Feminist. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Meridian, 1990. 454-70.

Shelton, Frank W. "Alienation and Integration in Alice Walker's The Color Purple." CLA Journal 28 (1985): 382-92.

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt, 1982.

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