Free Essay

The Color Purple Essay

In: Novels

Submitted By catroy4
Words 1194
Pages 5
The Color Purple by Alice Walker is set during the 1930's. During this time period in history, mens' status in society was undeniably higher than that of a womans'. The main characters' role in society, her status, and how it affects the theme of the story can all be seen in the novel. She endures years of abuse by both her husband and stepfather. However, overtime, she overcomes her hardships and defends herself. Celie, like many others, finally takes a stand for what she believes in.
Being the main character in this novel, Celie's role in society is well-developed. Since Celie is a black housewife, she stays at home to care for her husbands' children. Although she works the same amount as her husband, she is treated unfairly simply because she is of the opposite sex. Celie is treated like an indentured servant or a slave, only being used for sexual pleasure by both her stepfather and her husband. Her own husband, Albert, only marries her so she can work for him and assist him with caring for his children. He doesn't view her as a lover, simply as a maid. This shows men's attitude towards women and how they simply use them to satisfy themselves or help them around the house. Since Celie could not work, she remained a housewife. Eventually, she made her hobby of sewing into a business and began making pants for family members and friends but could never get a real career. Men do not support women having jobs but Nettie, Celie's sister, mentions how “ The world is changing.. It is no longer a world just for boys and men.”(Walker 132). This shows how, overtime, society could change immensely and women began having greater roles in society.
Celie's husband treats her terribly and doesn't appreciate whtat she does for him. He reveals to her how he feels by saying “Nothing up North for nobody like you... But what you got? You ugly. You skinny. You shape funny. You too scared to open your mouth to people... And nobody crazy or backward enough to want to marry you, either.” (Walker 205). Men can abuse women without consequences and it's completely normal. Even towards their own wives, men can show such hatred and disrespect. After being attacked by the mayor for replying “hell no” and refusing to be his wife's maid, Sofia, Celie's daughter-in-law, knocks him down. Not only is she placed in jail, but she also is beaten nearly to death beforehand. After being sentenced for twelve years, the mayor and his wife force her to be their maid instead. Since they are rich white people, they believe it is a grand honor to be a white lady's maid. This demonstrates how unfair society is towards women, especially blacks. Men can abuse women anytime, even if the woman has a high status in society, but the moment a woman lays a finger on anyone, it has severe consequences.
Men don't appreciate women and what they do for them. Albert is speaking to his own son, giving him his reasoning for beating his wife. Harpo, Albert's son, does not want to hit his wife and doesn't see a purpose in doing so, but his father encourages him that it is the only way women will listen to them.“Harpo ast his daddy why he beat me. Mr. say, cause' she my wife. Plus, she stubborn. All women good for.” (Walker 235). Even if women help them greatly around the house and treat men well, men don't appreciate their wives good deeds. Also in the novel, Celie speaks to Shug Avery. Shug, who is her husbands' lover, helps her through so much and encourages her to stand up for herself against him. Celie informs Shug that “He ain't beat me much since you made him quit, I say. Just a slap now and then when he ain't got nothing else to do.” (Walker 106). Albert enjoys beating Celie for no reason whatsoever, simply because he thinks she needs it or because he has to beat her because they're married. Also, Nettie is writing her a letter mentioning how “There is a way that the men speak to women that reminds me too much of Pa. They listen just long enough to issue instructions.”(Walker 283). Men would simply order women around and tell them what to do and women had no say in society.
Celie's position in society greatly contributes to the story's theme. Walker emphasizes that one's ability to express their thoughts and defend themselves is extremely important. By simply standing up for themselves, women can develop better self-esteem and self-awareness. Her own stepfather, who she thought was her father at the time, sexually abuses her. He repeatedly tells her to “Shut up and git used to it” (Walker 11) and makes her promise the only person she ever tells is God himself. After this, Celie begins writing letters to God to express her thoughts. After being forced to marry Albert, she also endures physical abuse from her own husband.
Celie has no say in their relationship nor is she pleased with her life. Until she meets Shug Avery, she feels as if she's nobody. Shug immensely helps Celie defend herself and take control in her relationship with Albert. Throughout most of the story, she remains quiet about the abuse, both verbal and physical. However, at the climax, she finally defends herself and stands up to her husband. She expresses her feelings about his comments against her by saying “I'm pore, I'm black. I may be ugly and can't cook, a voice to everything listening. But I'm here.” (Walker 207). In the beginning of the novel, Celie is simply an object of abuse but overtime, her character transforms into a strong, independent woman. By the end of the story, Celie is completely able to forgive Albert for the years of abuse he put her through and finally sees that he has changed for the better. Albert was struggling with stress and anger through most of his life and unfortunately, takes it out on Celie. Shug then encourages Celie to leave her husband and go to Tenessee with her. After their return, Albert, who is clearly affected by her actions, decides to change and reasses his life. He proves this by sending Celie all of the letters her sister had written to her which he had hidden over the years.
In conclusion, this novel strongly depicts the status of women during the early 1900's. Since then, the way women are viewed in society has greatly transformed. Celie, along with many other brave and courageous women, took a stand against the abuse and injustice they had been enduring for centuries before. They encouraged women to earn more rights and changed the way women are viewed even today. Women's status as well as abuse are major issues in this novel that weren't debateable or considered to be harmful or discriminatory. How would life be different if women didn't have the freedoms they do nowadays?

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

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Color Purple Essay

...Culture in the Color Purple “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.” That is a quote by Jawaharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India. I interpreted this as culture expands your knowledge as well as you spiritual life. This statement is false. In the novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple, the Characterization of the protagonist, Celie, and the setting of the novel disprove this. Mohja Kahf also shows evidence against this in her poem, My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears, with the plot of the poem. The main protagonist in Walker’s, The Color Purple, is Celie, a young African American woman fighting through the struggles of living in the early 1900s as a black female. The novel is written in an epistolary style with Celie writing letters to her distant sister Nettie, and god in the beginning. Eventually Celie stops writing to god and solely writes letters to Nettie. “‘…the god I been praying and writing to is a man. And act like all the other mens I know. Trifling, forgetful, and lowdown.’”(Walker 73). At this point Celie has finally given up belief in god, which in a way removes the blindfold from her eyes. When Celie was relying on god nothing good was coming from it. So once Celie became less spiritual and cultural and acted on things that displeased her by herself, she got results. The whole time these cultural beliefs were just blinding her. It’s the early 1900s in Georgia, in the Deep South, a......

Words: 584 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Color Purple Identity Essay

...with and knocks the mayor down in defence. Sofia is sent to prison for this offence and is ordered to 12 years of being a maid for the mayor. The length of this punishment for such a minor action emphasises the racial prejudice black people encountered on a daily basis. Sofia pays a high price for self defence and is victimised by the rich white mayor in the racial prejudice she endured. This also links to the theme of power of narrative voice as Sofia tries her best to stand up for herself before the mayor turns violent. Sofias ability to use her voice despite being taught not to emphasises the zero tolerance she has for being treated with racism, This highlights the daily struggles of the black community during this time period. The Color Purple explores the theme of how abuse destroys sense of self. Celie has no power in society or over her abusers because of her race and gender and her only form of expression is through her letters to God. The abusers in this novel are not stereotypical or purely evil as they are often husbands of the women and do have redeeming qualities. The violent abusers are the victims of sexism, racism or parentalism, which once again emphasises the cyclical nature of life. For example, Harpo only beating Sofia after his father implying he is less of a man for not beating his wife. The characterisation of this character is representative of a lot of males in this ...

Words: 662 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Color Purple Essay Questions

...LaeLonni Williams Color Purple Final Exam 1.    Celie's writing letters to God is known as an "epistolary form," because letters to God or in a religious context are called "epistles." Why does Celie write to God? What sorts of things can she tell God that she cannot tell others? What sorts of things does she learn to tell Shug that she is afraid to tell God? Does God ever listen to Celie? Celie rights to God because in the beginning of the book her step father says to her “You better not tell no one but God. It’d be kill your mammy.” Even though her mother dies I believe Celie still feels comfortable with only tell God and she may even be ashamed of whats going with her likes she is somehow responsible. Celie rights about her true feelings for the people around her such as Shug, Mr__, Nettie, her father, mother, Sophia, Squeak and Shug’s husband. She also tells God about how it feels to be raped, mistreated and abused. Celie tells Shug about her sexual experience or lack of but doesn’t tell God. Celie often compares Shug to her mother. God does listen to Celie evident by her getting the strength to leave Mr__ and do something for herself. I believe God gave Shug to Celie ti help her overcome abuse and slavery by Mr__. 2.    What role do you think Sofia plays in the novel? Describe her character and discuss how she contributes to the themes in the book. Sophia is the first glimpse of a woman being in control of herself that Celie sees. Sophia refuses to be a slave...

Words: 1289 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Red, White, Blue and You

...WHITE, BLUE AND YOU Or, The Color of Politics An Essay by Charles Ebeling Presented at the Chicago Literary Club Election Eve, November 5, 2012 Copyright 2012 Charles Ebeling Dedicated to the memory of my good friend and neighbor Marshall J. Goldsmith Who was my guest at the Literary Club, October 24, 2011 Some us recall a great 1986 film called “The Color of Money,” and no, cynics, it wasn’t about politics. That film earned Paul Newman the Oscar for Best Actor as a pool hustler and stakehorse, who enjoyed a glass or two of J.T.S. Brown Kentucky bourbon, my favorite beverage from college days. But, unless I’ve missed a documentary or foreign film along these lines, I haven’t yet seen a dramatization called “The Color of Politics.” Yes, there is such a thing as “The Politics of Color,” but as social commentary, not as a film title. “The Color of Politics” is equally real though, and has a long history. I first dabbled in the palette of politics on election eve, 2008, when I presented before the club on that occasion an essay I’d titled “One Collage Too Many,” painting......

Words: 2285 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Alice Walker

...a white activist civil rights lawyer named Mel Leventhal, and they married him in 1967. A year later she gave birth to their daughter, Rebecca. It was not until she began teaching that her writing career really took off. She began teaching at Jackson State, then Tougaloo, and finally at Wellesley College. Walker was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and spoke for the women’s movement, the anti-apartheid movement, for the anti-nuclear movement, and against female genital mutilation. She also started her own publishing company: “The Wild Trees Press”, in 1984. Walker refused to ignore the tangle of personal and political themes and produced five novels, two collections of short stories, numerous volumes of poetry, and two books of essays that address such issues. She won fame and recognition in many countries but did not lose her sense of rootedness in the South. She also recognized her mother as showing her the...

Words: 2381 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Color Purple

...FILM CRITIQUE: THE COLOR PURPLE 1 The Color Purple Devon Murraine ENG225: Introduction to Film Instructor: Kayla Ward October 20, 2012 [no notes on this page] -1- The Trials and Tribulations of life 4 The Color Purple “The Color Purple” is a 1985 American drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the eighth film directed by Spielberg and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker (Walker, 1996). The film tells the story of a young African American girl named Celie and shows the problems faced by African American women during the early 1900s; including poverty, racism, and sexism. The character Celie transform as she finds her self-worth through the help of two strong female companions. 2 1 1. “The Color Purple” (italics) [Angela Trodello (TA)] This movie has a great representation of characters where mentioning the talented Whoopi Goldberg and the famous Oprah Winfrey. These characters represent in the movie oppressed women who have surmised by their husbands and society. Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Is more of the quiet type, a woman who lives under the pressure and demands of the man but Oprah Winfrey as Sofia, is more of a strong type, she believes in equal rights with the men. 3 2. companions. The intro needs a thesis statement. Introduce the elements of film-making that you will analyze. How do they affect your critique? [Angela Trodello (TA)] 3. men. How does their acting contribute to the mise-enscene?......

Words: 2091 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Alice Walker

...Beteckning: Humanities and Social Sciences Double Oppression in the Color Purple and Wide Sargasso Sea. A Comparison between the main characters Celie and Antoinette/Bertha. Ingela Lundin 2008 C-essay English Literature Supervisor: Dr Maria Mårdberg Examinator: Dr Helena Wahlström Table of Contents 1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Purpose and main questions ............................................................................................. 1 1.2 Method and material......................................................................................................... 1 1.3 Theoretical approach ........................................................................................................ 2 1.4 Previous research – an overview ...................................................................................... 3 1.5 Introducing the novels ...................................................................................................... 4 2. A comparison of the double oppression in the two protagonists’ marriages.................. 6 2.1 The diminishing and isolation of Celie and Antoinette/Bertha........................................ 6 2.2 The upholding of the white man’s norm ........................................................................ 14 Conclusion..........................................................

Words: 10734 - Pages: 43

Free Essay

The Purple Dress

...The Purple Dress (Critical Essay) The Purple Dress is a story by O.Henry, written in 1905. O.Henry is famous for his short stories and one of the well-known one is about friendship and sacrifece. The story is about two single woman who are clerks and sell accessories. At the start of the story thse two woman Maida and Grace discuss their favourite colors- purple and red. Both thinks that their colours are the best. Thanksgiving party is approaching and ladies are doing their best to look pritiest at their store party. Maida decides to wear a purple dress, which the tailor Schlegel is going to sew for only $8. Maida had saved $18 in eight months. Grace decides to buy a red dress in a store, she thinks if a ladie has a a figure vevrything fits great on you. Both of them tries to please Mr. Ramsay, the head clerk. The only single man in the store. The day before Thanksgiving Maida is going to leave to take her dress from the tailor, she founds her friend in tears. Grace has no money to pay the rent, she already spent her money on the dress and she needs exact same amount of money as Maida has to take her dress from the dressmaker. She sacrifes it and and helps friend to pay the rent. At Thanksgiving Maida does not want to go to the party, "I was set on my purple," said Maida. "If I can't have it I won't go at all”.At the afternoon she goes to the tailor and tells that has no money to pay. But Schlegel gives her the dress and says to bring money when shen can. Maida runs to......

Words: 411 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Race

...Comparative essay on race/ethnicity ENG 125 – Introduction to Literature Instructor Benjamin Daw May 15, 2011 Comparative essay on race/ethnicity In this comparative essay, I will talk over the role and ethnicity in “The Welcome Table”, written by Alice Walker and “What it’s like to be a black girl”, written by Patricia Smith by exploring the difficulties that black women face, no matter of age or where they may live. When it comes to these two stories and poem both written by black women, the one thing both writers have in common is their main character is a black women or girl. Both have dealt with some form of discrimination because of the color of their skin is black. In Alice Walker, “The Welcome Table”, she writes in third-person omniscient trying to explain to the audience how this old black lady just wanted to worship inside of a church, any church. This older black woman has finally found a church, once she was inside she did not even realize that this church was for the white folks – all she wanted was to worship the lord. The older woman in this story was not afraid of the fact that all the members were white, this is the first sign of discrimination against her based off her race no one wanted her to stay there but she was determined to worship the lord inside of this church. Everyone in the church wanted her to leave the church, telling her this is not your church and she did not belong there. For some unknown reason...

Words: 1376 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Descriptive Essay

...Descriptive Essay As a little girl, I was ecstatic about growing up. I always imagine having a nice sized house and having my own car. I always imagine living the American dream. I had a wonderful family which included my husband, a little girl named Carmen and a little boy named Cameron, and a fluffy dog, named Spot. Together we would live happily in a nice neighborhood. When someone walks in they would be greeted by my massive two tier chandelier in the corridor. It would be filled with painting from world known artist. To the left there would be the den that would have decorated in chocolate and cream. There would be a chocolate leather couch, a chocolate leather chair and ataman. On the couch there will be cream throw pillows and a cream and tan blanket draped over the back of the couch. On the right of the corridor, there will be the kitchen. The kitchen would be the most vibrant room in the house. The walls in the kitchen would be a pale pink with rose lining. The appliances would be stainless steel and black in color. The tablecloth and curtains would change every week, but on this specific day, they were a marigold with pink and purple trimming. Straight ahead is the hallway that would lead to upstairs. Walking up the grand staircase that had 32 plush carpeted stairs you will see the banister that will be hand crafted by my brother who wants to be an architect. On the left of the staircase it will be my children’s room. Carmen would have everything pink,......

Words: 573 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Color Paper

...The Color Purple Film Report Tanya Castillo, Vanessa Holloway, Ronda McEwen, Volonda Montgomery BSHS 422 April 9, 2012 Joy Gaeraths The Color Purple Film Report Cultural competence is important to human service professionals it allows for the appropriate delivery of services to the clients he or she services. Cultural competence is defined as “The understanding of diverse attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, practices, and communication patterns attributable to a variety of factors (such as race, ethnicity, religion, SES, historical and social context, physical or mental ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, or generational and acculturation status” (Cross-Cultural Care, 2012). The human service professional can deliver tailored services and care that caters to diverse beliefs, behaviors, and value systems. Team B will examine characters Celie and Mr. (Albert) in the movie “The Color Purple.” This essay will define the cultural issues or problems of Celie and Mr. (Albert), develop a plan for the delivery of culturally competent services to the characters, develop culturally competent strategies to address those issues, explore the richness of cultural diversity, and the benefits, and drawbacks as portrayed by Celie and Mr. (Albert). The movie “The Color Purple” is an adaption by Steven Spielberg of the novel written by Alice Walker. Walker addresses the issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and how these unhealthy traits do not have to be passed on to......

Words: 1384 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Once the Bleeding Begins

...enforce their ability to oppress people through many avenues such as an individual belief in religion, a physical handicap or the way an individual may dress. However, for this essay, I have looked closely at specific females that were oppressed through unequality in specific to their individual race, social heirarchy of power, and sexuality. Unequality between male and female has been seen all over the United States. For example, American females finally were given the right to vote in 1920. In a racial sense, whether male or female, black and white people were segregated in public up until the 1950s. Financial status determined your ranking on the social hierarchy of power granting an individual the ability to have a great influence or to f. dFinancial status was signifigant; higher amounts of incomes meant one had a strong influence in society and respect was demanded. All of which were based on the norms of the time. Currently The United States of America does enforce laws that restrict physical harm onto others and enacted an equal opportunity act, thus enabling all Americans regardless of gender, financial status or race to be treated equally. Although we have seen oppression decline publically, we still see it happening on a daily base through sexual oppression. For example, in the book, The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, she introduces the readers to the time around the 1930s when racial, gender, education, and financial oppression were a norm of society. An abused...

Words: 1532 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Keita

...Shakeita Brooks September 1, 2015 Personal Essay My Name is Shakeita Domonique Brooks, I Am from Tuskegee, AL, I am 19 years of age. I was born May 12, 1996 at East Alabama Medical Center at 12:00am. I was given the name Shakeita after the name “Chaquita the banana”. I took my last name after my father Calvyn Brooks who was born and raised in Lafayette, AL, My mother Lisa Scott was born and raised in Tuskegee, Al. I am truly blessed for having my mother and father in my life because without them I will not be here where I am today. As I was younger I was brought up and raised in the house of the lord Simmons Chapel church at a young age, baptized at age 9 was a turnaround in my life. My favorite color is Pink and Purple, I was raised to always earn for what I want because there is nothing free in this world we are living in. I have 5 siblings 2 sisters on my mother side and I also have 1 sister and 2 brothers on my father side. I am an Aunt of 2 niece and 6 nephews. I attended Booker T Washington high school for Four Years, I was once Miss Purple and Gold and I was also Miss. Homecoming. I was in the band for all four of my years in high school playing the cymbals and I was also a cheerleader for two year. I was on the A’B Honor role For 3 years and also in “The 100 Outstanding young women” As you can see I was a very Active Student in High School, because growing up I was taught that an idle mind is the devil workshop. Last Year as being a freshman here at......

Words: 462 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Kojl

...Snapdragons red dominant to white heteroz pink. Green leaves dom to purple. Pink purple x pink heteroz what would be pink purple? ¼ Tomatoes red dom to white dark green incompletely dom to light green fruit and leaf color loci not linked. Red tomato medium green leaves x white tomato and out of progeny 100 plants two white. Plant then crossed to dithered. What fraction of progeny have white fruit and leaves not dark green? 3/16 Ferrets sing. Rec allele g sing G snort. Incompletely dominant alleles for dark rown and blond are also found in the species. Two loci segregate independently of each other. Singing light brown ferrets mate with snorting dark brown with singing mothers (gg Brbr x Gg BrBr. Expected phenotypic ratio? 9/16 sidabr:3/16silibr:3/16sndabr:1/16 snlibr Lucy int in butterflies X vulgaris. Rip rec lethal to relative to the wild type allele. Esp phen ratio of cross btw X vulgaris gen +rip X +rip if the alleles segregate independently? 3:1 Spotted rabbit x with a solid colored rabbit produced all spotted offspring. F1 generation rabbits x among themselves, they produced 32 spotted and 10 solid. What were the gen of F1? SS x ss Horses black dependant upon dom gene B chesnut upon rec b. trotting gait due to dom gene T pacing gait to rec allele t. Homozygous black pacer x chesnut trotter what is appearance of F1? Black trotters Located on X chrom of a cat is a gene that codes for deafness. This gene rec. Fem cat heteroz for deafness x male not deaf....

Words: 1597 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Michina the Cat

...Essay 1 Artist: Laura Lopez Title: Michina, The Cat Style: Acrylic on canvas Date: unknown Dimensions: 2½ ft. high I think this piece of work is very beautiful and outspoken with its vibrant colors. I would have to say the canvas is about 3 ft. and 10 inches high, but the cat itself is probably 3 ft. high. I think the condition of the painting is perfect, there are no damages. I would think the color assortment on the cat, would represent the different moods the cat has. The gold around outlining the cat would represent royalty. The cat comes from high class. The cat seems to have different color whiskers, one side is gold and the other side is silver. Since it is women history month, I think this cat represents a woman and the reason for the two colors of the whiskers is because there are two sides of every woman. I would describe its’ features to be very distinctive but at the same time shows some carefree life. The cat only shows three paws, and I think the right paw is being blocked by the front paw. The head of the cat is a proportional circle, very concise. The eyes of the cat are colossal, and the pupils seem to be dilated as if the cat was surprised. The outline of the eye is the gold, the sclera is a light blue, the iris is a thin line of black, and the pupil itself is gold, shaped as a circle. There is a lot of emphasize on the eyes, and I think it’s because there is a lot of history. The cat has gone through a lot, and as a woman you can always tell by......

Words: 927 - Pages: 4