This is one of the most satisfying books that I have read in a while. Though it is very mature and deals with intense suffering, the ending provides a feeling of fulfillment and joy. I felt so helpless for Cellie with her abusive husband that when she became empowered and left Mr_ I felt empowered along with her. This comes after she finds the hidden letters from her younger sister Nettie, who for this entire time has been living a separate life as a missionary in Africa. In her village they face many of the similar struggles as in the U.S., namely oppression by white men. In her letters one learns of the cultural traditions of the native people and how their world is essentially destroyed after a rubber company takes over their territory.
Back in the United States Cellie struggles with the meaning of oppression race and gender as well. She writes her letters beginning with “Dear God” because in her mind God is the most powerful person in the universe. However, she struggles with the concept of what type of person god is, in terms of race and gender. In her and Nettie’s world, power is hands of the white men, but because God is a loving and altruistic force he would not be well encapsulated by the white men they know. In her spiritual growth, mainly caused by her relationship with Shug Avery, Cellie comes to an understanding that God wants her to do and be what makes her happy. When the books ended and her sister and her were reunited, I felt that she had began to make actions for herself no longer feeling a sense of duty to God or anyone else to conform to whatever they want.
Finally, the name of “The Color Purple.” In this book, the color represents both Cellie’s darkest moments and her happiest ones. When examining her damaged body after sexual violation, she notices the purple bruises and discoloration. But later with Shug in a field of purple flowers, Cellie is taught to appreciate beauty in life, such as the flowers around her. In different parts of the story, purple takes on meaning of both pain and enjoyment, but it is most representative of her soul’s journey. She begins in a place of oppression, when purple means the sadness of her life, but ends in a place of happiness where it means she can appreciate the world around her.