Alice Walker’s Color Purple is a very strong book, even though the emotions are hidden, voice uneducated and the events simply narrated as they happened, yet you can feel what Celie cannot express.
It is a book, in diary format about Celie’s life, her letters to God, pouring her heart, not complaining, not whining, and simply narrating. She is a young black woman living in South Americain 1920s. Barely literate, she escapes brutality and degradation of her treatment by men. Her emotions are buried with only peeps showing until she starts writing to her sister Nettie rather than God. Even then, Celie is philosophical about life and the future.
“Dear God,” starts each of Celie’s letters as she begins to describe being raped by her father, torn apart from her ensuing children, and sent to be the live-in maid, nanny, and concubine of a man whom she knew only as “Mr.”. It is to God whom Celie describes her anguish at losing her sister, her fascination with the nightclub singer who is her husband’s mistress, her grief over her daughter-in-law’s arrest and imprisonment, and her murderous rage upon discovering that her husband had concealed years of letters from her sister.
During the course of the novel, Celie frees herself from her husband’s overpowering control. She gets in touch with her sister Netti- who fled to Africa with Celie’s help. With Shug Avery she finds comfort and with her help sets up a clothes designing business. Celie evolves and in the end that leads to re evaluation and reconciliation of the major characters in the novel; and Celie reconciles with God.
Since its publication, The Color Purple has aroused critics to both praise and to sharply criticize elements in the book. It has become the classic novel by a black woman, winning many awards. Celie becomes the ugly duckling who will eventually be redeemed through suffering.
Alice Walker’s storytelling style is irresistible to read. She speaks of the female experience more powerfully for being able to pursue it across boundaries of race and class.
Color Purple has been made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey and been the musical form has been a Broadway hit for years together.
Read it, for the symbolism of purple represents the miracle of human possibilities.