on May 21, 2003
Life of a fourteen year old, black girl, never been loved, uneducated, and poor named Celie, has never been so harsh. The book The Color Purple shows life in the 1900ï¿½s as difficult for women. Women were treated like property and sold off for marriage, as slave workers. Celie is the protagonist and the narrator of the book. She writes letters to God everyday due to her father raping and beating her. Twice her father, a boy and a girl, who was taken by her father and supposedly killed, impregnated Celie.
Celie and her sister Nettie learn of a man named Mr.____. Mr._____, wanted to marry Celieï¿½s sister, but their father Alphonso denied. Mr.____ has a lover named Shug Avery, a singer at the local lounge, of which Celie falls attracted with. Mr.____ and Celie become married, but Mr._____ treats her like a slave. Nettie eventually runs away from her father and moves in with Mr._____ and Celie. Mr._____ still desires Celieï¿½s sister, so when he meets up with her she flees for her safety. She tells Celie of the letters she will write everyday. Celie never receives any of these letters and believes her sister is dead.
Mr._____ï¿½s son, Harpo, wants to marry a large woman named Sofia. Sofia and Harpo become parents and both marry. Celie is amazed as a woman is powering over a man, but when Harpo attempts to beat Sofia, he continuously fails. After Shug Avery falls ill, Mr.____ takes her into his home. Shug and Celie, after Celie nurses her, become the best of friends. Celie becomes attracted to her sexually. Shug and Harpo open a juke joint, in which Shug sings nightly. Celie becomes confused over the feelings for Shug Avery. Shug Avery decides to stay with Celie and Mr._____, finding that Mr._____ beats Celie when she is away. Shug and Celie become intimate and start to ask questions of the topic sex.
Harpoï¿½s new girlfriend, Squeak got into a fight at the juke joint, after Sofia came back for a visit. Sofia is then sent to jail. Sofia is then sent to work twelve years as the mayorï¿½s maid. Shug and Celie become even more intimate after frequently sharing the same bed. One night Shug asked Celie questions about her sister. Celie responded with she thinks she is dead. Celie tells her of the letters Nettie is to be writing, when Shug remembers Mr._____ hiding mysterious letters in his trunk. Celie and Shug find dozens of letters from Celieï¿½s sister, and they read them in order.
The letters tell of Nettieï¿½s missionary accomplishments in Africa. She also writes of how she had adopted Celieï¿½s children Adam and Olivia. After Celie finding that Alphonso was just her step dad in order to inherit the house and property, Celie makes a visit to see him. Celie then looses out on her faith in God, but Shug tries to keep her image of God. Shug, Squeak, and Celie move to Tennessee, where they open a tailoring of pants shop, this was due to the outstanding, anger, of many years with Mr._____. One day Celie returns with a visit to rural Georgia, where she finds that Alphonso has died. She inherits the house and property. She moves back to Georgia, where Adam, his new wife Tashi, Olivia, and Nettie are heading out to America. The mayor releases Sofia six months early from her servitude. Celie and Mr._____ reconcile and enjoy one anotherï¿½s company. Nettie finally meets back up with Celie. Sofia remarries Harpo, working in Celieï¿½s clothing shop. Now, Celie and Nettie, even though they grew old will never be with out each other as long as they shall live.
on February 26, 2002
The Color Purple was formatted well. I liked the way it was written as a series of letters from one sister to another, and fromt the main character, Nettie, to God. It allowed the reader to recieve a better knowledge of the characters thoughts. Celice was an inspiring character because she never gave up. She kept on writing to her sister Nettie even when she knew that her letters were probably not being recieved. She perservered until the end. I have two sisters, so I was able to relate to the relationship that Nettie and Celia cherised so much. If it were not for this good relationship between me and my sisters, then I think that the book would not have been as interesting as it was for me. I did believe that some of the other relationships were harder for me to relate to and therefore I was less interested to read about them. Even though I was not familiar with the lifestyle of the people, I came to realize that the characters were extreamly life-like in the fact that they grew throughout the novel. I enjoyed the book's ending more than anything else. I felt that I had trouble making myself read the middle sections. All in all, it was a book that I am glad that I read for exposure to different things, if nothing else.
on October 10, 2001
As an objective study of racism, feminism, and personal development, "The Color Purple" stretches the limits of fiction in an unlikely narrative. It is difficult to determine the literary value of this book, as there is indeed a fine line between genius and insanity. What the novel imparts to its reader is debatable as well. At first glance, it appears a poorly written hodge-podge collection of an abused woman's diary entries, a black sympathy story whose publication can be justified by the author's ethnic heritage. There must, however, be something more. There is a certain quality, charisma, ambiance that is difficult to positively identify: Could it be hope? The strength of the human spirit? The eventual triumph of its characters over their impoverished circumstances, motivated by personal ethos? If the color purple represents joie de vivre in strange places, the novel accomplishes its title mission. Perhaps I, the mystified reader, have missed the point entirely. An epic work of fiction this book is not; an exercise in reading between the R-rated lines seems more likely. Considering the minimal inspiration can be squeezed from pages dripping with violence, anger, confusion, bisexuality and despair, it is not for those reflective readers looking for the meaning of life on a Sunday afternoon. Finding some thematic value on an unlikely Wednesday is somehow satisfactory.
on September 22, 2001
As you read through Walker's "Color Purple", there is little doubt as to where the author is trying to go. The book starts off just plain awful, with a young girl, Celie, describing her childhood of abuse in poorly-written letters to God. Through these letters, and a series of letters between Celie and her sister, Celie's life is followed from childhood to late adulthood. As the book progresses, Celie takes more steps forward and back, and her growth can be seen in the writing itself.
Unfortunately, when I read this book, I felt no emotion whatsoever. It was so obvious what Walker wanted me to feel that I couldn't feel it. It was as if someone was trying to cram my head full of sentimentality with a sledgehammer. After the first fifty pages, my attitude towards the book evolved into "Yeah, yeah, I know where this is going - let's just get it over with".
If you like very sentimental books, I suppose there is nothing wrong with this one. It's a bit difficult to read in the beginning (when Celie is young and her English awful), but it gets easier as it goes, both because the reader becomes more used to Celie's mannerisms, and because Celie's writing improves as she grows older.
on May 20, 2001
In The Color Purple, the author Alice Walker depicts the struggle of a poor black woman on a lifelong journey of self-discovery. Celie, the main character, writes letters to God in an attempt to find understanding in a world full of confusion. Walker's choice of narrator creates a different meaning for the struggle of woman in a society dominated by males. Celie is a woman in search of her place in this world. She is uneducated and far from graceful but the reader quickly falls in love with her and her struggle. The book starts out with a vivid account of the impersonal rape of Celie by her father. The story continues to document the struggles of the narrator and her plea to God asking, "give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me."(1) Her innocent reaction to the continuous abuse throughout her life stupefies the reader and makes the sympathy factor high. Her relationship with her sister Nettie serves as her inspiration to continue living until they are separated. At the point of their separation, the reader questions her survival for the first of several times throughout the book. After her struggle one can see a distinct change of her character under the influence of her husband's lover Shug Avery. Shug represents the vigorous and independent woman that Celie longs to but cannot find the strength to be. The relationship that forms between them is unusual but strangely fulfilling for Celie. Her empty marriage is suddenly not as important and she begins to stand up for herself more often. The docile narrator suddenly transforms into the powerful woman that she has always dreamt of being. She slowly gets stronger and stronger until she is independent enough to break free from her cage and finally begin to live her own life. This is the point when Celie finds her religion and the pieces of her life start to come together. As she blossoms, her language and thoughts become more clear. In the end, it is clear that Celie is finally happy and feels like she has found her peace and "happy median" in the world. Walker creates Celie as a realistic person that is easy to relate to. Celie's emotionally gripping journey makes this novel an incentive for one to live and most importantly to appreciate one's surroundings. Celie's final realization is that God created everything and "if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it"(203), you're missing the most important things in life.
on October 24, 2000
The Color Purple is a classic tale of some of the issues facing the minorities of America in the 20th century. After studying a few famous minorities and their contributions to the American society of the 1920's, I was very eager to learn more about the struggles and donations of various minorities, despite the many obstacles they encountered. A tale of Celie's life, though somewhat based on Alice Walker's, The Color Purple is a story about the trip through life and the role believing in religion or being spiritual can do. Celie is the protagonist of The Color Purple, and her letters serve as the narration of the story. She begins as a somewhat naïve and confused woman who matures and learns through her mistakes in romance and socially to become a better person. The title of this book was chosen appropriately by Alice Walker, as her ethnicity, being part Cherokee Indian and with close relatives who had been slaves, The Color Purple is simply the description of her skin, a blatant label referring to her skin color and history as a human being. Celie's changes come about as her letters evolve and she begins to think more deeply about relations with Pa, but also Nettie, Samuel and Corrine. The love relationship with Shug also forces Celie to mature. It is with the almost need to feel loved by and feel the love for Shug, as a lover, and Nettie, as a friend and companion, that Celie heads for spiritual belonging rather than religious. Nettie's character plays a great role, especially in the ending. Though the ending was a bit illogical, foreshadowing did occur through the help of Nettie's letters. Her companionship to Celie was needed, which let the reader know that no matter what; Nettie was always to be a part of Celie. This book was not very interesting to me. I felt that it was somewhat vulgar, though I understood the importance of this controversial material. It opened my eyes to the life of someone underprivileged, living a stereotypical life with nowhere of great importance to go, or rather the lack of an expected destination or need to arrive there. I am sure that if I were to read this novel over with a different frame of mind that it may have been a tad bit more touching and deep rather than the simple sex-filled novel I saw it as.
on May 9, 2000
The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker, is an emotional story of an African American woman's journey through an unbearable life which teaches women to unite in order to find strength and happiness. The main character, Celie, journeys through many different abusive relationships to discover who she really is and to find the strength she possesses. However, until she discovers her hidden strength, she allows herself to be physically and mentally abused, first by her father, and then later by her husband. Two independent women enter her life and help her to see past her feelings of self worthlessness and discover her own beauty. She discovers that life is not a matter of simply existing, but rather, it is about enjoying living. This book may be hard for some readers who are especially sensitive, because it is very graphic. It deals with sexuality, rape, homosexuality and offensive language. It is easy to read because it is divided into short diary entries and letters, but the language and dialect can be somewhat confusing. Also, the story seems to drag on and on. I liked the ending because everything ties together, but it almost seems to end too perfectly and unrealistically. Celie goes from being a weak, submissive wife to Albert at the beginning to a his equal at the end just because she has become a stronger person. Albert's personality doesn't seem as if it would permit this drastic change. In addition, Celie's long lost sister suddenly appears on her front porch. It's a good book with a powerful story, but if you have a choice, watch the movie instead.
on March 11, 1999
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, takes place in the south, in the early twentieth century, and spans thirty years in the life of Celie, a poor southern black woman. When her stepfather warns her that, "You better not never tell nobody but God," Celie pregnant again, begins letters addressed to God, written in black folk speech, that record details of her difficult times growing up. The book moves forward by means of Celie's letters to God and to her sister, Nettie, who Celie thinks is dead. The letters exchanged by the sisters are never delivered or are "found" too late for a response. As the novel develops, Celie learns to love and her observations even include a description of the color purple. The storytelling style of The Color Purple makes the book hard to put down. The tragic tale of incest, misguided love, lesbianism and violence is not for the young at heart but for those mature enough to see what matters in The Color Purple is that everybody has possibilities on the on the inside. Celie has a right to participate in the celebration of life and to honor the pleasure of living.
on February 26, 1999
Set in the southern U.S. during the early 1900's, Alice Walker's The Color Purple gives readers a vivid and terrifying description of the life of a young woman named Celie. This novel shows how a life was lived if you were any other ethnic background or race except white around the 1900's. Celie is a young black suppressed female. Her father molested her, and married to an abusive man, who didn't love her. To help herself coping with these hardships, Celie writes letters to God and her distant sister Nettie, who was separated from Celie by Mr._____. What Celie doesn't know is that Nettie is writing letters to her, however Mr._____ receives these letters. Instead of giving these letters to Celie, he keeps them for himself, storing them in a trunk.
This book deals with adult content and issues. Our group believes that some of the information given should be cut. That includes the Africa letters, and the details of rape. Anyone who can stand the levels of these situations should be encouraged to read this book.
Our group gave this book 3.5 stars, thinking it was well written, but it had its ups and downs.
on May 3, 1998
Throughout Alice Walker's The Color Purple Celie, the main character, undergoes several changes brought about by her contact with other people. Her Pa or who turned out to be her stepfather was a major influence in her life - not good, though, but bad influence. He abused her physically by raping her and left her to take care of her siblings as a surrogate mother even when she was but a child. He didn't even tell her that he wasn't her real Pa, or that her children were alive.
The second man in her life was even worse in some ways - her husband, Mr.______ or Albert whom she married, but she really was bought - he got a cow with the deal. He abused her not only physically by beating her but he also abused her verbally by calling her names while working her to the bone. He kept her under his thumb with these tactics. These two men left her subdued and passive, who acquiesced and gave in rather than put up a fight. She became emotionally dead with this suppression of her personality of who she was - she was just a person who cooks and cleans and takes care of the children without any consideration given to her. Even a horse who has worked hard and loyally for its master gets to enjoy freedom and relaxation, but not Celie. She is treated worse than an animal.
However this changes with the coming of two women into her life - Sophia and Shug Avery. Sophia, wife of Harpo, was a strong willed women both physically and emotionally, also as stubborn as a mule. When Sophia first arrived Celie became jealous of her as she waw how much in love she and Harpo were in and no matter how difficult life became they were truly happy - something Celie thought she could never have. So when Harpo came to her for advice on how to deal with Sophia, Celie said, "Beat her". And he did. When Sophia found out that Celie had told him to beat her, she rushed to Celie and demanded to know what she was doing to her marriage and said, "All my life I had to fight ... but never did I think that I would have to fight in my own home". The realization of what she had done to Sophia came to her and from then on Celie and Sophia were fast friends. Sophia's courage to fight for her rights with Harpo, Mr.______ and the Mayor taught Celie to stand up in the face of adversity not crumble. And later on in the book she does stand up to Albert.
Shug Avery was the one person in her life who affected Celie the most in her life. Shug had held a fascination for Celie ever since Celie first saw her picture which had fallen out Albert's pocket. When Shug first arrived she was very sick and was practically at death's doorstep. Celie through clever manipulation brought Shug from the very jaws of death, metaphorically speaking. Slowly but steadily their friendship grew until the time when they went to bed together. That was when Celie unburdened herself and told Shug her life story. When Celie told Shug her about her Pa who raped her and had two children by Shug said, "You're still a virgin then" and Celie replied, "I guess I still am". By these small acts of listening and other small acts of kindness and love, the first Celie had known for a long time - not since her sister Nettie went away, Celie broke out her shell of isolation. Shug brought Celie back not only emotionally and physically but also sexually and religiously. It was as though Celie was reborn as a different person. A person who not only had the courage to tell Albert off and stabbed his hand with a knife, but someone who left her husband to go with Shug to Memphis to start a sort of pant factory there with two girls working under her.
Celie wasn't the only one in The Color Purple who underwent changes in personality - Albert became more the kind of person who Celie could grow to love - caring, loving and who helps her. Sophia changed from strong willed to pathetic in her old age as she became more like Celie of old - subdued and passive from her long stay in prison and as a servant, a change that was the direct opposite of the change Celie underwent. These changes in Celie and others through their interaction with others were akin to the ever changing shoreline, which, under the influence of others is being altered and transformed constantly. The changes that Celie underwent are aptly surmised by Alice Walker's poem "Remember". At first Celie was, "the girl holding their babies cooking their meals sweeping their yards washing their clothes Dark and rotting and wounded, wounded". But after meeting and befriending Shug she becomes, "the woman: Dark repaired, healed". In the end the woman that Celie turns out to be, is confident, resolute and healed from the scars left from her childhood.
This was not an exceptional book nor did it have an original plot but it did do a very good job of the portrayal of characters and their reactions to their surroundings and other stimuli. Therefore, the two characteristics of the book in my mind tend to even out thus it received an average scoring.