Journal Postings

Group A

02/14/02 (The Color Purple)

Lisa Bard

One thing I didnít notice until reading this one thing off the Internet at http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/The_Color_Purple/wwwboard/messages/358.html that Celie and Shug were both with Mr. ______ and Shug had his respect and Celie didnít.

For one thing, I donít like this book at all. I hate that way women are treated. But I did find it interesting how different Celie and Sophia are. Sophia refuses to be beat by her husband and, she fights him back. While Celie has been beaten her whole life, and she has no energy to fight back. She always says that she is just trying to stay alive, but she talks about the rewards of the life to come. If she is looking for the rewards of the afterlife then she should just fight back, even if it does mean to betray her father and husband. I hate the way that Celie was bargained for. Her husband does love her, he only married her because she was a hard work and he got a cow. And the fact that Mr. _____ lets his whore stay in the same house as his wife and children, this guy doesnít have any respect for anyone.

One thing I didnít notice until reading this one thing off the Internet at http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/The_Color_Purple/wwwboard/messages/358.html that Celie and Shug were both with Mr. ______ and Shug had his respect and Celie didnít. I think this might be because of Celieís past history with men. Celieís pa really took a huge affect on her lifestyle, and the way that she doesnít fight back. Itís the same with Sophia, she never took abuse as a kid therefore she refuses the abuse from her husband. Even Harpo is the same way because he got beat by his pa as a child, so he thought that he had to beat his wife to gain the control in the relationship. Even though Celie wants to gain control and fight back, she tells Harpo to beat Sophia because of jealousy.

 

Ewa Budzynska  

I found two websites that are loosely related to the topic. The first one is about the sharecropping system, the second one about female jazz musicians. http://www.africana.com/Utilities/Content.html?&../cgi-bin/banner.pl?banner=Education&../articles/tt_963.htm  http://www.pbs.org/jazz/time/time_women.htm 

As for "The Color Purple", I have seen Steven Spielberg's movie based on this novel on Polish TV (with Polish translation) and liked it so much that I decided I must have it in my private collection. Now, when I'm reading the book, I imagine everything in the way it was shown in the film. So, when I read Celie's letters to God, I remember how excellent was her part, played by Whoopi Goldberg.

I feel sorry for Celie because she was deprived of personal freedom and human dignity. She has a very low self-esteem and not enough strength to oppose the evil people who hurt her. Her father is a really nasty character, a beast with no feelings. He assumes his superiority and power to control other people's lives; he forces Celie to submit to him and denies her the right to speak for herself. The horror that she is going through continues after she is "given" to Mr.----, her next oppressor. Celie never feels loved or taken care of and, what is worse, she accepts this state of affairs, not seeing any other option. She cannot even get angry, so distorted her emotions are; she cannot derive any pleasure from life, either: "I shrug my shoulders. This life soon be over, I say. Heaven last all ways." (Walker 44)

However, two female characters who appear in the first part of the novel reveal to Celie that there is a different way of living. Sofia (a very good role of Oprah Winfrey) is a strong and self-confident woman, determined never to be a man's slave. She is not afraid to stand up for her rights and suppress her husband's attempts to rule her. "I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me." Another woman who influences Celie is Shug Avery, definitely not a "housewife-mother type". Unlike Celie, she is aware of her womanliness and knows how to make use of her sexuality to exert power over Albert.

To conclude, I like Alice Walker's book so far, although, as I already mentioned, my interpretation of it is largely affected by the movie. I found two websites that are loosely related to the topic. The first one is about the sharecropping system, the second one about female jazz musicians. http://www.africana.com/Utilities/Content.html?&../cgi-bin/banner.pl?banner=Education&../articles/tt_963.htm  http://www.pbs.org/jazz/time/time_women.htm

R. Eric Burdette  

I found a couple of websites listing some facts about domestic violence, since it seems to be very relevant to the novel.

http://www.cybergrrl.com/views/dv//book/myth.html

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/4867.html  

The Color Purple, wow.  Initially embarking on this text I had no idea what it was about.  One the first page I was blasted with explicit and graphic references to sexual abuse.  It really grabbed my attention right from the beginning.

It took me awhile to grasp what the book was being written about.  I donít know the time period that the book is set in.  However, references to wagons and horses as modes of transportation must place this novel a relatively long time ago.  I also had trouble figuring out the race of the characters, but after hearing them all described I figured out that they are African-American.

From the chunk of the novel that I read the themes of sexual and physical abuse grab me the most.  These themes are written about in such a down to earth tone, not in abstraction, it is just so shocking and different.  Being a pacifist, one period in the book that really grabbed my attention was the conversation between Celie and Sofia.  It seemed to me that Celieís reasons for not fighting back were firmly grounded in her belief in God and Christianity.  This I immediately compare to Mennonites and other nonviolent Christian and religious beliefs.  Celieís reason for not getting mad and fighting can be seen when she says: ďThis life soon be overÖ Heaven last all waysĒ (Walker 44).

Even though I believe in pacifism and nonviolence I think that if I were in Celieís situation some of my beliefs in that area would come into question.  I donít know if I could take being abused sexually and physically all my life; by my father and later by my spouse; I just donít know if my convictions would hold up under all that.  I see this novel developing into a story of a very courageous woman, almost an example of a nonviolent martyr who lives.

I found a couple of websites listing some facts about domestic violence, since it seems to be very relevant to the novel.

http://www.cybergrrl.com/views/dv//book/myth.html

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/4867.html

 

Jamie Burke

http://www.ncvc.org/infolink/info29.htm

I chose a web site that had many facts and statistics about incest.  I wanted to see how many shildren were still victims of incest.  I knew that a lot of children get abused by a family member.  When people use the term incest, it puts a whole new spin on it.  It makes people more aware for some reason of the issue.

I am really enjoying this book.  I like the narrative style.  It makes the story more personal.  I relate to the character more.  The biggest issue of the book for me is the incest.  It seemed like it was acceptable in most families for the fathers to sleep with their daughters.  Half of the time, the girls would get pregnant.  Those babies were either sold or killed.  Some of hte girls didn't even know what was going on.  When Celie gave birth for the first time she didn't know what was happening.  All she know was that she was in pain and then she had a child.  Her father promptly killed that child.  He sold that next child.  One question that I had was how that children could turn out normal, when they had very similar jeans?  Many children of incest ahve birth defects or don't live.  Yet most of the products of the incest lived or would have if they weren't killed.

I chose a web site that had many facts and statistics about incest.  I wanted to see how many children were still victims of incest.  I knew that a lot of children get abused by a family member.  When people use the term incest, it puts a whole new spin on it.  It makes people more aware for some reason of the issue. 

http://www.ncvc.org/infolink/info29.htm

 

Matthew Chiles

The Internet site that I found is about Alice Walker.  It mainly tells her biography, and has a lot of links on it to look at.< http://wwwvms.utexas.edu/~melindaj/alice.html

In Alice Walkers novel, The Color Purple it is about the things that happened to a girl in her life as she is growing up.  One thing that I noticed is that it starts off every passage with Dear God.  I think that she starts off these short passages like this because some of the things that are happening in them are bad, and you really fell comfortable telling them things to god.  The girl also has very harsh things happening to her.  The first one starts off by describing herself getting raped.  I think that this is messed up to read these things that are happening to her in her life.

I feel that this novel has some things in it that would make many people feel really bad for what is going on with this girl.  I feel that this girl has had a ruff life so far from the first part of the book.  It will be interesting to see what might happen to her later in the novel.  If her life gets better or turns to worse even thou it is pretty bad now.

The Internet site that I found is about Alice Walker.  It mainly tells her biography, and has a lot of links on it to look at. < http://wwwvms.utexas.edu/~melindaj/alice.html>

Tony Cleveland

I chose http://www.luminarium.org/contemporary/alicew/ as my website.  It describes the life of Alice Walker.   It mentions that she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color Purple  and also provides links to many other sites.   These links connect to other poems, essays, interviews, and articles by Alice Walker.  

I thought that The Color Purple had some very interesting characters.  Celie is one who has absolutely no self-confidence.   She never speaks up for herself and she is always doing things to make other people happy.   Celie gets pushed around by her husband and she just takes it.  She doesn°Įt do anything to deserve the punishment she always gets, people like Mr._____ are just used to pushing women and she just happens to be used to taking it.  So I think that Celie is just used to her position in life.  I donít think that sheís comfortable with it, but I just donít think she would know what to do if she were suddenly given a position in power. 

Mr.____ is also a very interesting character.  First he is always referred to as Mr.____ or sometimes his first name is used, why is this?  His choice of a wife is also interesting. He doesn°Įt marry the women that he loves, he picks Celie on the grounds that she we be a good worker.   Mr.____ doesnít even attempt to put together a real marriage.  His wife is just another worker to him; he doesnít even attempt to love her.   Celie just watches the kids as he tries to get together with Shug Avery.   Also, the fact that he brings another women to live in his house while he is married shows how little he cares about his wife. 

I chose http://www.luminarium.org/contemporary/alicew/ as my website.  It describes the life of Alice Walker.   It mentions that she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color Purple  and also provides links to many other sites.   These links connect to other poems, essays, interviews, and articles by Alice Walker. 

 

Kyle Cutnaw  

Here is my website related to the reading: http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/purple.html This website has discussion questions and other links to resources about Alice Walker.

To be completely honest, I didn't enjoy this reading. It was hard to read straight through it, because of the slang used, and the structure of the reading. However, I don't think that I have ever read a book quite like this one. It was different how this book is set as a series of letters to God. Since it was so hard to follow, I had to go on the internet to a related site to get a better understanding of what I had just read.

Another aspect of this book that bothered me was how uncomfortable I felt when I read it. It shows the stereotypical images of black people that were held by whites during that time. Some of those stereotypes include that all blacks are small-minded and uneducated. The black males are portrayed as abusive, sexual predators. The women are either portrayed as scared, survivors, or whores. Times have changed so much since then. To think that black people were actually looked down upon and treated like this is a very disturbing thought.

One more idea that I noticed was how similar this book was to "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou. Both books tell stories of young, black girls who are struggling to survive during trying times. The main characters in the story both deal with rape and oppression. This is another uncomfortable thought, because more than one author has written about the problems of the time. This further proves that the poor treatment of blacks did not occur merely in one town or place; it was a reoccurring theme in the country at the time. That image is not a comfortable one.  

 

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