Alice Walker's The Color Purple

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“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker gives readers a look at the rural south in 1910 through the eyes of Celie, an oppressed African American woman as she frees herself from the abusive relationships in her life. With the help of the influential women she meets throughout the novel, she is transformed from a submissive, powerless woman to an independent and strong individual who can finally stand up for herself. Walker’s choice of the epistolary novel shows Celie’s emotions first hand and the use of an uneducated style and weak dialect give readers a look at her character. Through the use of her symbols and style readers can see Celie’s empowerment and growth throughout the novel which shows that despite her unpleasant upbringing, she is able…show more content…
Upon meeting Shug Avery and Sofia, she is able to feel love towards others; but most importantly, she feels love for herself. For once in her life, she has some confidence. These strong women teach her how to be courageous and stand up to her abusive husband. Shug and Sofia teach Celie how to overcome the sexual and racial oppression that had destroyed so many other women of the time. Through Walker’s use of an epistolary novel, Celie’s stamina and growth is demonstrated. Celie does not have the self-esteem she needs to free herself from her husband’s physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. She constantly follows her husband’s demands without question. She doesn’t know any better because she is used to being oppressed. As a child, her father verbally and sexually abused her. Growing up in these conditions, her self-esteem is extremely low. He would say to Celie, "You’ve got the ugliest smile this side of creation” and she would cover her mouth because she was insecure about her appearance. In her essay, Martin explores Celie’s viewpoints on Sofia and Shug Avery. She discusses, “Sofia holds a power that Celie cannot fathom. She is willing to fight for herself and not meekly follow her oppressors. She demands equality and love from her husband.” Celie is shocked by the way that Sofia stands up to her husband Harpo, for she has never seen a healthy relationship like that before. They begin quilting together and this brings them very close to each other. Martin argues, “Celie’s journey to mend together the pieces of her life begins with the bonding of the sisterhood. As they quilt together, the women become friends and Celie begins to understand Sofia’s strength and to adopt parts of Sofia’s ideology as her own.” Celie’s relationship with Shug Avery was the most important to her freedom from oppression. She saw Shug as a free woman who was
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