The Color Purple was an inspiring novel filled to the brim with powerful characters, themes, and human interaction, earning it a 9 out of 10. The story takes place in the American South where Celie, a young, black, uneducated woman, lives with her father Alphonso, sister Nettie, and many other siblings. Celie is physically and verbally abused by Alphonso and impregnated twice, resulting in her two children being sent away as infants. She is eventually married off to a mysterious character named Mr. , who originally was planning on marrying Nettie, only to be disappointed by Celie. The sisters promised to write frequently so and Celie sent many letters, only to find that Nettie never replied and Celie inferred that Nettie was dead. Now Mr. ‘s wife, Celie works continuously, her only hope is a picture of a distant character named Shug Avery, a glamorous, scandalous blues and jazz singer, who was also Mr. ‘s former mistress. One day, Shug Avery falls sick and arrives to the house, where she stays until she recovers. During this time, Celie forms a close bond with Shug, and gains knowledge that Mr. had kept letters that Nettie had sent but were kept from Celie. She read them in secret and learned that her children had been adopted by a kind, Christian couple that had also taken Nettie under their wings after she ran away from Alphonso. With other strong women fueling her courage and rage, Celie confronted Mr. and left him to go to Memphis with Shug. After successfully starting a career as a seamstress, Celie united with Nettie, her new husband, and her children to end the novel.
The themes of sexism and racism gave me a better perspective of how life was for a black women, often taken for granted, thrown away because they are female, and looked down upon because they have dark skin. I often debated with myself if Celie’s misfortunes in life created a stronger character or destroyed her early life. I decided that all the obstacles, hardships, and pain she had to endure created pity in the audiences eyes, but lit a blazing fire in her’s.
Something interesting about the book is that it is mostly narrated by Celie’s letters to God, the only being that she fully trusted in the beginning of the book. Not only does this display her miserable state, but it also captures her true feelings toward her oppressors. Celie would never speak out against men in both obedience and fear, so if the story was narrated by say Mr. or Shug, they would not be able to illustrate what Celie really felt. And because Celie’s schooling was limited, there are many spelling and grammar mistakes that can help the audience envision her character.
People that would appreciate this book would be those who need to read a book quickly. This novel was relatively short, but it was packed with an intriguing story. If you enjoy reading about a character’s journey through life and are prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions, then you will love The Color Purple.