Day 12 October 3, 2002
1. Names. Some information about midterm next time—a set of questions from which the exam will be drawn, most likely.
ORIENTAL RESEARCH PARTNERS
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WE ENCLOSE OUR LATEST FREQUENT LIST BUT BEFORE WE DO, WE HOPE THE FOLLOWING
POEM WILL LIFT YOUR SPIRITS IN LIGHT OF A POSSIBLE IMPENDING WAR...
This short poem is made up entirely of actual quotations
from our President, George W. Bush. These have been arranged, only for
aesthetic purposes, by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson. Too good
not to share, especially during the recent National Poetry Month.
MAKE THE PIE HIGHER
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!
2. On Color Purple. I want to be sure that we look closely at some crucial moments of the text, along with considering what it means, what patterns and themes emerge and how they connect with those we’ve been talking about all semester.
It’s about African-American experience in America, of course, but it’s also about black women, about men and women, about violence and several kinds of oppression, and about freedom and empowerment and various kinds of resistance too.
Starting point: what do you think are the “big issues” that the book raises and that we ought to talk about? Make a list on board. Sex, religion, gender roles, economics, race, family, work, history, language, violence, abuse, incest, activism, solidarity, love . . . some become more evident as things continue.
Having listed all these things, I’d like next to shift to the specific and particular—to examine characters and events and even the style and point of view. Doing that will help us consider the “big issues” more carefully when we circle back to them, I think.
3. Some issues and ideas on Color Purple:
-Opening. Why does the book start the way it does? When the narrator gets raped by her father on the first page, what is left? What’s the purpose? To create a deliberate and radical shock, to set up the conditions under which she has to exist?
-Notice the dialect, as I’m sure you did. “Be” for “is,” or verb left out, also verb endings omitted. Highly economical, and surprisingly expressive, I think. Watch also for changes in the language and form as the book continues: who the letters are addressed to, for example. And different characters speak different dialects.
-Why do you suppose this letter form? Notice the first line in italics. That’s (I think) the only break from the epistolary form. It’s the form of the very first novels, of course, but why use it here? She’s forbidden, of course, to “tell anybody but God.” Who else can she talk to? Esp. after Nettie leaves. The theme of silence and speech, of secrets and threats and the struggle to overcome them.
-In many ways this is a very traditional novel: emphasis on family relationships, generations, change and testing. Even the suspense about Nettie being dead and the grand reunion at the end is straight out of Dickens.
-On another level, though, it’s also a book about hierarchies: color, money, sex, beauty, education: a poor and ugly and uneducated black woman is at the very bottom, hmm? How do you act in that position? How do you survive? What kinds of force can you marshall? Ignorance: her daddy won’t send her to school, Shug has to teach about her own body.
-Time and place: when does this take place? Begins in early 20th century, perhaps the 20s, somewhere in the South.
-Marriage, sex, love. 17-18 talking marriage. 21 on her wedding day. 24 Nettie: It’s like seeing you buried. 30: Why he beat me? She my wife. Plus she stubborn. 52 She notices his weak chin. 22-3 Her little girl--the children her father took from her at birth. All throughout a confusion of children, weddings, cohabitations and the like, hmm?
-Harpo and Sofia: a parallel but distinct saga: Sofia who won’t be pushed around by anyone. 42-3 How to make her mind? Celie says “Beat her.” Their fights, following; 46 Celie and Sofia, their confrontation and forgiveness. 62 ff. Harpo’s eating: “Some womens can’t be beat.” She gets disgusted and leaves. Women connecting with other women.
-Ways of coping: 25: Nettie says “You’ve got to fight,” Celie says all she knows is to stay alive. 29 Kate, Mr. ------’s sister, says the same thing. 30: “I made myself wood. . . . That’s how come I know trees fear man.” 37: she cares for the children, but feels nothing. Cooking, with Harpo: these people are not destitute, just poor. 47 on Heaven, now or later. And making things: quilt pieces from messed up curtains.
-Shug Avery: 16, 28, 33: Even before Celie meets her she knows there’s something about her, she’s interested more than threatened even when Mr. ---- brings her home. 48-51 she comes, sick. Albert’s his name. 53-55: Why is Celie attracted to Shug? Her looks, her spirit? 58 Mr. -------’s daddy: Celie spits in his water when he talks bad about Shug. That chapter: she starts to feel part of something, even though it’s not something the world would understand: she, Shug, and Mr. -----.
Reading Response by Suzy Bauman:
"The Color Purple, by Alice Walker"
The first section of the book, “The Color Purple”, by Alice Walker shined a very bright, clear light on the issue of abuse. The time that this book was written really showed me the acceptance that existed in regards to the abuse of women. The main woman in the book, Celie, has gone though so much in her life. The book begins with her story about her father raping her. One of the comments that she made that her father said to her that hit me was, “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy” (p. 1). This kind of threat was the reason that all of her letters were addressed to God. She feared telling anyone else. Something that shocked me throughout the first section of the book and her letters was that she never seemed to lose her faith in God. She always looked towards her future in Heaven. One comment that she made that proved that was, “Well, sometime Mr. _____ git on me pretty hard. I have to talk to Old Maker. But he my husband. I sh! rug my shoulders. This life soon be over, I say. Heaven last all ways” (p. 44). This comment was made right after she discussed why she couldn’t be mad. Even though her mother was hard on her, she could not be mad at her because she was sick. Although her father beat and raped her, she couldn’t be mad at him because he was her father. She had to obey the commandment in the Bible of “Honor thy Father and thy Mother”. Being angry or thinking about being angry made her sick, and then soon changed to not affecting her at all. This kind of faith is unreal to most of us. If placed in that kind of situation most of us would recent God and become revengeful of those who were abusing us. But Celie didn’t. She tried to dismiss it and thought about her future in Heaven. But my question is, how can we prove to people who use this kind of reasoning in these kinds of situations that they do not deserve the abuse they are going through? Celie may be following the Bible in the ! commandment of honoring her parents, but no one deserves this kind of torment. God did not intend for that to happen to us. Also, it’s a good thing for Celie to be positive in her outlook towards Heaven, but it’s also important for her to stand up for herself and realize that God also did not intend for us to have that kind of life on earth. Her faith inspires me, yet her passiveness makes me sad.
One site that fits what this fictional story is discussing is:
This site discusses domestic violence and assumptions made by some people about domestic violence, statistics, and who the perpetrators most likely are.
at first, i dont know what to say. celie is no better of, if not worse of than she would have been had she been born a slave. its extremely sad. the book portrays how the black men just became like the white slave masters of the old south. celie keeps saying she is quiet to survive. yet she seems to give everyone around her hope. they all look to her for the courage to fight back. its like a war zone for these women. the thought of being treated, or treating someone that way, is about enough to make me sick. it seems as though she doesnt even look at herself as a human being, and no one else does either. it seems that the cycle just continues on, with few exceptions to the norm. but some of the women seem a hope for the black womens rights as an overal person. i think its sad the way celie is even trampled on by the women she gives hope to. she admires shug so much, but even she doesnt always treat celie as a human being. but each one of the charecters seems to give her more hope. i also like the way they call her husband Mr.------- all the time. it keeps the story in persepctive.
Issues- Response #3 Krissy Hoffman October 3, 2002
I find The Color Purple to be an interesting book, mostly based on the way it is written. I have previously read it for my Junior English class in high school, but reading it again has helped to bring back much of what I remember from it. The series of letters in this novel are sometimes hard to interpret because we are unaware of the dates and the time frame they are written in. Alice Walker does not really present much when it comes to backgrounds on the characters and the settings in which these incidents take place. However, there is evidence throughout that help in the understanding of it. The most important issues that this novel addresses are that of gender and race and also domestic violence. Walker addresses these issues in unique ways. The most obvious, in my opinion, deals with gender issues, mostly when dealing with the beating of wives, like Celie and Sofia. Celie is beaten by her husband quite often and just seems to take it. I do not think she feels strong enough to stand up for herself and also that she finds it as a natural occurrence. She is used to it and it almost seems that she feels she deserves it. Sofia however, is not at all like Celie in that she defends herself when Harpo attempts to beat her. But one must also understand the different backgrounds that Celie and Sofia come from. Celie herself tells Harpo to beat Sofia, but she later regrets it. The website that I found poses many interesting questions about these types of issues and makes one think more in depth about them. One question that stood out to me in particular dealt with the way Celie is different from others with her “sense of self”. Celie seems to have been shaped by patriarchs in that she always appears to be obeying and “minding” men. It is almost as if it is her obligation as a woman to do everything for men. When it comes to domestic violence, many women may feel like there is no escape and that there is no way to deal with it. Domestic violence is a bigger issue than most people think. It often does not get heard because it is often not reported. Celie was probably the type of person who felt trapped and could not get away from the oppression she experienced. It became part of her life. Sofia however, was able to get away from it. She fought back and ended up moving away from Harpo. This is a good example of how domestic violence can be different in each case, partly due to how a woman is able to act on it. The difference between Celie and Sofia is not just in their different backgrounds, but also in the level of mental strength, or self-esteem, that each one has.
Lavender, Catherine. Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982). 1998. 2 Oct. 2002 <http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/purple.html>.
Even though a work of fiction such as The Color Purple can gain such recognition and praise as a great work of literature that captivates the reader, maybe we ourselves should feel fortunate that this story was not a true account of a real woman's life. Sure, we can treat the story as good writing, but I can only think about the true life stories out there of this type of abuse, sorrow, neglect, adultery, and rape. However stories of lives such as this only makes us think about what goes on in the world that we do not know about.
One theme I get out of this story is the eternal fight it seems for womens' rights and power. Alice Walker wrote this book as a good source to look to for women who feel beat and neglected as they too can have power and become their own selves in a man's world. Yet, Alice is black and so is her character Celie. The perseverance she gives to her in the face of hatred, abuse, and neglect makes her the "curious" character to me as she is still growing and figuring out how she wants her life to really be. Her husband does not care for her and she does not care for him, so she can only continue to go on with a history that did nothing for her and a future that she can not begin to predict. The other characters just add to the confusion of a life that Celie is a part of. I do like the actual form of writing in this book such as the letters to God and the choice of diction to show the characters personalities more. It makes for a story that is precise and to the point about the characters' feelings and situations. The diary format tells the story realistically.
Today in our modern world we see some bizarre and sorry to say actual stories such as this through the media. We are brought into peoples' lives through Jerry Springer, reality t.v., and the news showing the abuse of womens' rights in our own country and all across the world. It is something that will probably never be resolved because human nature and different cultures do not always allow what is right. It may very well be a struggle for many just like it is for Celie to overcome what has been forced upon her throughout her life.
Jon Lindow...group B
First off I found this website and I thought it fit with the story:
http://www.rainn.org/ . It stands for Rape Abuse and Incest
This story is really sad. It was a little hard to read at first, because
of the dialect, but as the story progresses it gets a little easier to
understand. Celie has gone through so much in her life and it is sad to
think that she is okay with it. She just assumes that is the way it is
supposed to be. The very first quote is sad, "You better not never tell
nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy."
Celie gets beat by her husband because she is stubborn and on page 23
Celie says, "nobody asts how come you his wife?" People just ask her why
she is stubborn. Her husband is telling Harpo he beats her because she is
his wife. That gets Harpo thinking if his wife doesn't listen to him then
maybe he should beat her too. Celie runs into a fight on page 39 and they
are kicking and punching eachother. It is good to read that Sofia can fight
back and not take it like Celie does. She should take lessons from her and
try to fight back when her husband hits her. On page 66 Celie is telling
Harpo she gets beat by her husband whether she does what he says or not.
Harpo says, "That's right, but not Sophie. She do what she want, don't pay
me no mind at all. I try to beat her, she black my eyes." It is good that
she doesn't let her beat him but I can't believe she takes him to school and
wipe the pavement clean with him. These are just some of the interresting
points I found in the book so far.
I'm really unsure if this is the kind of response you were imagining for this kind of reading. I found it difficult to find things to talk about because I haven't read the whole book and so I don't quite know what the plot is. However, when I was looking for websites this one caught my attention and it made me change my entire response. (it also helped me understand the book). http://www.africana.com/Column/bl_eye_29.htm
While I haven't yet gotten to the line in the book that it talked about in the peice above I understand what the above author and Alice Walker are saying through this book. We often overlook the small good in our life to focus on the great bad. Celie has learned to focus on the good of those around her as well as the bad. She is a bit of a dead pan narrator, I mean she doesn't go into great detail about her beatings or get overly dramatic about the bad parts of her life, or the good for that matter. But she does give us a glimpse of what a life might be like.
Until I read this article I had a hard time relating to the characters in the book, because thier lives seemed so much different than mine. They seemed almost outrageously exaggerated and I had a hard time believing them. However, I notice now that while it seems outrageous to white, middle-class me that all this abuse and basically screwed up stuff could happen to a person, it also seems that Celie is a survivor, one who knows, instinctively how to look for "the color purple" as the article describes.
Celie goes on and on about how she doesn't have an education, and her "speech" reflect her lack of education, but regardless she does know something about life and about survival. She knows how to make friends, how to love, although she often claims she doesn't love anyone, and how to survive.
I often wonder if I would survive in situations like this. I wonder if I would be able to withstand this kind of life, but on the other hand Celie seems to know no other kind of life. Her almost deadpan narration makes her character as interesting as any because she doesn't seem to feel emotion about any of the tragic events of her life.
I don't know if this is the kind of response you were expecting but this is what I wrote.
As I dug into The Color Purple, I began to wonder what kind
of book is this. The flow of the book was real slow at first because of the
vocabulary used, but after a few pages, it flowed with ease.
I could not come to grips with this book at first. How could this have happened? I thought about it for a little while and I came to the conclusion that forced marriages and beating one's wife were common back then. Mr.______'s way of treating women was popular among many. I later came to find out that this still happens. I found the website http://www.medusa2000.com/marriage.htm that tells a little of the forced marriages and beatings that about 1,000 new Europeans girls go through each year.
I think, so far, that this is a good book with a great message. So far in the book the message seems to be directly toward women in abusive relationships, and the ones around them, such as siblings and children. I think this book is a great thing for women in those situations that really don't know what to do. It may not work wonders, but it could possible help them to get their lives back. The characters Sophia and Celie show two different approaches, Sophia controls her life while Celie really doesn’t have one. Celie is told what to do and her life is run for her. I don’t think this is as prevalent today as it once was, well, at least not in the United States. I believe more women are being, or trying to be, like Sophia and are doing what they want to do, not what they are told to do. They are living their own lives. Other countries, such as Pakistan, India, and Yemen, where the girls are sent to in the website article, may have a harder time to understand this c! oncept. We are lucky to be living in a society where most people believe that forced marriages and beatings are wrong.
Reading Response: The Color Purple
This book is definitely a fast read! Before I knew it I was done with my section and actually on beyond it. It also deals with a lot of issues throughout. It begins with such a strong issue immediately on the first page where Celie is getting raped by her father at fourteen. This totally blew my mind. It’s such a powerful way to begin a story, that’s for sure. The sad thing is there is no one there to stop it or say otherwise, so the raping continues. Celie ends up having multiple children and they just keep disappearing without a word. (pg 12) She accepts it and seems as if she wants them to be gone, since she had no intentions of having them in the first place. Rape, and in particular incest, is such a sick act. There’s no way I will ever understand the thought process of one who would take advantage of such an innocent mind in such a way as that.
The father then goes on to pawn Celie off on Mr.__ basically to get her out of the way since he has his eye on Nettie. All the while Celie was doing her best to keep her father away from Nettie because she knew that Nettie was different and could be better off. It’s interesting that throughout the story Nettie is brought across to the reader favored, in that she’s prettier and more knowledgeable (pg 17). Celie does try her best to shelter her from men and the way that they treat women. I think it will be interesting to find out Nettie ends up, whether it is in a doomed relationship like the other women so far or if she will make something better out of her life. It’s crazy to see how these men toss these girls around as simple possessions. I think that’s definitely an underlying struggle here that’s introduced in the opening parts of the book. So quickly the girls are tossed from man to man, and the new husband only wants her for her cooking capabilities, mothering, farm-hand, and for pleasuring themselves (apparently, because the females seem to get no pleasure from it in most cases).
Celie’s relationship with Mr.__ is wrong in every way. She is deprived of anything resembling decent human treatment really. This seems to be the case of the majority of the women, or least that is what is expected. She is beaten like a dog and even Harpo has the idea that that’s the way women are treated (pg 67). And Celie has been in submission to men for so long that she believes that’s the way it’s done.(pg 43) Even the mayor’s wife is treated the same in some aspects. Her husband buys her a car, yet doesn’t bother to teach her how to drive it. Rather pointless in my view. White or black these women are believed to be worthless for much other than providing services to men.
The crazy thing is that these women are so self-sufficient that they don’t even need the men to survive really. Celie is doing all of the farm work and household duties and Sofia is out repairing the house and making her own shingles. I don’t think I know of any woman today that could split her own properly functioning wooden shingles. The women become so calloused to it all that it becomes rather sad. Then there are the few who have broken away from that servant existence to rule their own lives, such as Nettie and Shug Avery. Celie idolizes these women because they have gotten free or have made themselves a treasured beauty without allowing themselves to be pulled into a trapped existence. They’ve lived that free life that only she can dream of having, and perhaps her dreams of freedom are lived out through them, or perhaps just awakened by them.
One thing I surely wasn’t expecting was that Celie was a lesbian. That really did surprise me at first. But thinking about it, one can see how she might be turned away from males all together. She has been through so much torment and been overlooked for so long that she’s callused to feeling much care for anything. I found a website that had some very good insite into understanding the idea that Celie can find power in this type of relationship as well as what other things are suggested in the ideas presented. http://www.arches.uga.edu/~gyphdid/ref.html
The Color Purple is a very interesting novel that
delves into the life of a young girl named Celie. It
is neat because the whole novel is written in the form
of letters and it takes you from the time when she was
14 through other stages of her young life.
As I read the beginning of the book, is that if Celie
does not have a lot of confidence in herself and is
sort of powerless. It is almost like she is a slave,
a slave to her dad. It seems that the only person she
can really talk to is God, which she does in the form
of letters. She was thrown into the role of a mother
at a very young age when her mother died. In one
incidence Celie plays the role of a protective mother
when she helps her sister Nettie from being raped,
which Nettie eventually runs away. Nettie is Celie's
only real friend and she is very protecting and loving
to her. In the beginning Celie endures alot of pain
and turmoil, which I am sure only sets us up for the
rest of the story...maybe to show us how strong of a
person she is?
A book like this is going to take a while to soak in. I'm very caught off
guard right now. This book deals to highlight. First I think, oh, well it's
gotta be DOmestic abuse. But then I think, oh, well it's gotta be Women's
Rights, or oh, it might be Homosexuality, or adultery, or premarital sex
or... (the list goes on and on, I'm kinda reeling right now).
One thing that really jumped out at me though, Walker is really good at
having you know exactly what's going on even though it's worded in a very
confusing/non-traditional sense. ex: pg. 59 what a simile: "she smiles like
a razor opening"
It's a very deep book... I love it already.
A good website that goes right along with the book The Color Purple is
www.geocities.com/SoHo?/Lofts?6124 It gives a summary as well as authour
and character profiles.
As for discussing this book, where do I begin. To be completely honest
if I would have picked this book up for leisure I would not have read past
the first page; I found the language, context, and implementation in this
book to be offensive and a little too harsh and blunt. I found myself very
discusted in many parts of this book but tried to keep an open mind and
follow the content at a deeper level. The author really captivates the
reader by developing the characters and by continuosly throwing out more
complications into the lives. The storyline really moves at a continuous
pace and does so without giving the reader a direction to guess where it is
We can notice a huge change in Celie from the beginning of the book to
when she gets nellie's first letter. She starts out as this scared girl,
rightfully so, who gets walked all over, abused and used because she is not
strong enough to stand up for herself against her father or Mr.___. The only
act of courage she shows for standing up against any kind of "authority"
early in the book is when she protects Nellie from her father. She is kind
of naive to the concept of knowing she could try to stand up for herself but
by standing up for Nellie, this maybe is a sign of hope to the reader that
maybe at some point she will stand up for herself and maybe look or actually
see something more instore for her life. Later on, after Sofia confronts her
about telling Harpo to beat her to make her mind him; Celie comes to the
recognition that she told Harpo that b/c that is the only thing she knows.
After Celie and Sofia talk and Sofia tells her she will not let anyone beat
her; I think Celie's character grows a little more in that she realizes she
doesn't want to be treated the way she is and would like to start sticking
up for herself but 1) doesn't know how to and 2) still lacks the courage to
learn or start to. Sofia really plays a big role in the book though as
someone who teaches Celie how to stick up for herself or at least gives her
the notion that she should.
Shug is also someone in this book who plays a big role in developing
Celie's character. Celie has never known what it is like to be loved or to
love except towards her sister nellie (who she has thought was dead). Shug
gives Celie a new awareness of this concept of loving or being loved and
even has to kind of explain it because prior to meeting Shug, Celie did not
know any different. Again she was sort of naive in that respect.
To this point in the book, we see Celie coming along way as far as
character development; she hasn't really done anything big to show it yet
but we see it in her way of thinking. I think that by finding out Nellie is
alive, has been writing this entire time, and that Mr.___ has been hiding
the letters is going to prove to be a huge turning point in the book. What's
in store...with this book...I have no clue! I'm almost afraid to think about
After reading the first third of The Color Purple I am left with a few observations. There were clearly different set of expectations of people in the time and place. Prior to any form of women’s liberation movement, and especially in a low class area, women were expect to comply with the wishes of their husbands. In the same manner men were expected to be in control of their wives. Both faced the oppressiveness of long ingrained expectations. This isn’t to say that it was not wrong for men to be oppressive, and even abusive to their wives, but I say this to mean that there were deeper social structures that imposing these ideological expectations. Over the decades these structures have been challenged, and people have realized that neither party was truly gaining from living out these expectations. That is why today we can see a more equal society, because people decided to live for what they knew to be right, not what they were told was right, with respect for this issue. It isn’t complete, there is still an air of inequality imbedded in our culture, but we have come a long way The question remains, how do we truly reach this equality? Is changing one persons mind enough? Will changing enough individual minds make the difference? Or will this only make the separation between those who follow the old way of thinking and the new way that much wider? Is there an effective way to reeducate people, and show them the freedom to break from the old cycles, or are human beings to self-righteous to admit that they are wrong and those who taught them were wrong? Who’s place is it to tell some that everything they know and follow is wrong?
While reading this book I found myself reading it as an autobiography. I didn't quite know if it was, so I did some research and it never came right out and said it. So i'm still confused on this issue. The book at first distrubed me quite a bit with the bluntness of the language, but I thought that it was her life so I was glad she was able to share that. It is interesting that she could have that background and overcome it and right a book about it. I was looking on a cite and found other African American writers and I found a book called 50 black women who changed America. I found this to be very interesting.
I realize this site only shows the book, but this has gotten me interested in finding out more about these women and what they did. This ties into Alice being able to overcome some things in her life and become a writer (that is if this is a biography). I think the book is written well. I am glad that in the midst of the turmoil at the beginining, when i stopped reading she was feeling very good about how things were going. She had a place to stay and people to converse with. As much as it messes with my stomach, I'm interested in reading on.
"The Color Purple" was really interesting and at the same time hard to read because of the language used. Sometimes I had to spend a few seconds guessing what that word or a phrase could mean. This book mostly talks about complicated relations in black families, also there is one significant episode which describes the behavior of whites with blacks (Sofia and mayor and his wife)
The book is written in a style of a diary, sometime after the Civil War; this poor girl Celie addresses it to God (epistolary form), because "you better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy". The main character changes throughout the book. In the beginning, she is only 14 years old, naive and innocent; however she has experienced a lot. In the first chapter, her mother dies, and she is beaten. She has a hard life because her family is poor and she is unloved. Celie's father allows Albert (Mr. ______ ) to marry her, but they don’t love each other. Celie hates him: he beats her up all the time. She is practically his slave, though he calls her his wife. Celie's life is miserable and she is disgusted with herself. Celie's life changes when Albert's lover, a blues singer named Shug Avery, visits. Shug teaches Celie to speak up for herself, and tells her she is worth something. Shug gives Celie the courage and strength to leave Albert and start a happier life.
The Color Purple is sometimes distressing and sometimes it is filled with hope. Some parts are bitter, some are joyful, like when Nettie and Celie are united. But the most of the novel is a mixture of all emotions, both good and bad.
Overall, it is a very sad story, perhaps one out of thousands stories just like that, about the unequality of "mens" and "womens" years ago. And I am very glad that those times have passed and that I was not born then :)
A nice web-site containing information about The Color Purple is
particularly appreciate the various categories of discussion (setting,
characters, etc). They make it easier to understand aspects about the book
that one might not get by reading it once or twice.
Poor Celie. How awful it would have been to be an African American woman in
the South of the early 1900s. She, as well as the rest of the black
community were oppressed by racism, but Celie was also oppressed by her
father and husband.
On page eighteen, Celie said, "All I know how to do is stay alive." Part of
this story is about her self-perception of utter hopelessness, but it is
also about becoming strong and overcoming disparaging circumstances. Nettie
spoke for it a bit on page seventeen. She said, "Don't let them run over
you. You got to let them know who got the upper hand." So, even though life
was grim, strength was found in Nettie and other women of The Color Purple.