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The Color Purple - The symbolism of Sewing and Pantmaking

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Adam Jeffries

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of The Color Purple - The symbolism of Sewing and Pantmaking

The Color Purple
The symbolism of Sewing and Pant making

Development of sewing and textual support
Pant making as a symbol
With Celie's development of her business, Folkspants Unlimited, she is able to use her sewing abilities for not only creative and expressive purposes, but to also utilize its potentials of economic success and establish her independence.
Examples from the text cont.
"How you make your living up there? he say.
"Making pants, I say.
"He say, I notice everybody in the family just about wearing pants you made. But you mean you turned it into a business?
"That's right, I say. But I really started it right here in your house to keep from killing you." pg 258

"Well, she say, looking me up and down, let's make you some pants.
"What I need pants for? I say. I ain't no man.
"Don't git uppity, she say. But you don't have a dress do nothing for you. You not made like no dress pattern neither.
"I don't know, I say. Mr. not going to let his wife wear pants.
Why not? say Shug. You do all the work around here. It's a scandless, the way you look out there plowing a dress." Pg 146.
Celie utilizes her ability to sew in order to create an outlet for the sexism, racist tensions, and for the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse she has had to endure. Keeping a needle rather than a razor in hand, she finds an expressive and non-violent alternative to overcome her hardships. Her development of a pant-making company strengthens this idea, and further establishes r economic prosperity, character, and independence.
Sewing as a Symbol
Sewing, in contrast to the importance of razors in The Color Purple, was used as a passive and non-violent tactic to fighting inequality in society.

Celie utilizes her enjoyment of sewing in order to balance her emotions and calm her anger. The act of sewing a quilt helps build her personal identity and development through the novel. The longer she works on the quilt, the larger it becomes, and the more complex Celie's diary entries become.
-Celie and Sophia's original bitterness towards each other is resolved in regards towards Celie's envy towards Sophia's toughness along with Sophia's sympathy towards Celie's timid nature.
-As a sign of their newly acquired friendship, Sophia and Celie agree to make a quilt out of old pieces of curtain that have accumulated from Harpo and Sophia's fights and arguments.
-The two's agreement to make the quilt along with the diversity of the cloths used represents the unity of diverse people coming together, and ultimately forming a "Sisterhood"
"Okay, she say. And everyday we going to read Nettie's letters and sew. A needle and not a razor in my hand, I think."
Page 147
"Then i remember her quilts. The Olinka men make beautiful quilts which are full of animals and birds and people. When Corrine saw them, she began to make a quilt that alternated one square of appliqued figures with one nine-patch block, using the clothes the children had outgrown, and some of her old dresses."
pg 186

"I got pants now in every color and size under the sun. Since us started making pants down home, I aint been able to stop. I change the cloth, I change the print, I change the waist, I change the pocket. I change the hem, I change the fullness of the leg. I make so many pants Shug tease me. I didn’t know what I was starting, she say laughing."
Pg 211

Then I finally made the perfect pair of pants. For my sugar naturally. They soft dark blue jersey with teeny patches of red. But what make them so good is, they totally comfortable. Cause shug eat a lot of junk on the road, and drink, her stomach bloat. So the pants can be let out without messing up the shape."
pg 212

"I started to make pants for Jack. They have to be camel. And soft and strong. And they have to have big pockets so he can keep lots of children’s things." pg 213
Examples from the text:
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