Struggle and Growth in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

Struggle and Growth in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

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Struggle and Growth in Alice Walker's The Color Purple


The Color Purple depicts the struggle and growth of Celie, an uneducated slave of the South who became a victim of racism, sexual roles, men, and social injustices, in numerous letters that she writes as a diary. Walker uses Celie's uneducated grammar to help the reader perceive the pain that she thinks and feels in order to become a mature, twentieth-century woman.

            As Celie writes to God for guidance and strength asking that she may carry on, her letters subtly shift to be intended for her intensely loved sister, Nettie, whom separated from Celie at an early age. Celie becomes a victim of brutal violence as she refuses to fight back to the injustices that black men, such as her husband and father, inflict upon her, including rape, verbal abuse and physical abuse. When Shug Avery, a blues singer who had an affair with Celie's husband, enters the novel, Celie's outlook on life gradually alters. Shug's manipulative, potent, and independent character aids Celie in growing strong and eventually learning to love others as well as herself as they share an intimate, sexual relationship together. Shug's belief in freedom of black women urges Celie to take complete domination of her own life. After years of keeping the memories of Nettie alive, Celie's courageous spirit and love of Nettie and Shug lead Celie to forgiveness and reconciliation for all the pain inflicted upon her. When Nettie returns home with Celie's children after experiencing a whole new life in Africa, Celie finally is able to encounter true happiness through mental and emotional rebirth.

            Although Nettie's character remains detached for years, she serves as Celie's confidante th...


... middle of paper ...


...lthough Celie didn't receive Nettie's letters till months, sometimes years, after they were written, Celie continued to confide in Nettie with her deepest emotions.

            Without Nettie's character existing in the novel, Celie would eventually give up her gaining perseverance and cling onto the abuse and injustices she grew up in. Nettie served as Celie's emotinal and spiritual support while allowing the reader to experience knowledge of her African culture. Nettie explains to Celie the vast differences between her life in Africa, with blacks as the majority, and life in America, with blacks as the minority. She serves not only as a confidante but also as an educator for Celie's lost mind. Nettie's character intensifies Celie's need to love and be loved in The Color Purple.

Works Cited:

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple.New York: Pocket Books. 1982

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