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The Color Purple

Readings in American Literature
by

Jennifer Gray

on 16 April 2013

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Transcript of The Color Purple

The Color Purple Novel Written by Alice Walker
Movie Directed by Steven Spielberg
Presentation by Jennifer Gray Synopsis Celie is abused and raped by her Pa, who takes away her children after they’re born. Eventually, Pa marries Celie off to a man who is just as abusive as Pa. Celie’s new husband, Mr.__ simply marries Celie to take care of his four children, look after of his house, and work in his fields. Celie is somewhat happy to marry Mr.__ because she can now remove her younger sister, Nettie, from Pa’s household. However, after Nettie lives in Mr.__’s household for a time without encouraging his sexual advances, Mr.__ kicks Nettie out. Though Nettie promises to write to her sister, Celie doesn’t hear from her. Celie’s life gets worse and worse, as she’s now separated from the only person in the world whom she loves and who loves her back.Celie’s life changes when Mr.__ brings his deathly ill mistress home for Celie to nurse back to health. Mr.__’s mistress, Shug, is everything that Celie isn’t: sexy, sassy, and independent. Celie quickly falls in love with Shug, and Shug falls in love back. For the first time in Celie’s life, she has a chance to enjoy sex, romance, and friendship.Together with Shug, Celie discovers the mystery of Nettie’s silence for so many decades: Mr.__ has been hiding all of Nettie’s letters in his locked trunk. When Celie finds her sister’s letters, it unlocks a new world for her. Instead of being submissive and downtrodden, she realizes the full extent of the abuses she has suffered from Mr.__. This knowledge gives her the strength to leave him. Celie heads off to Memphis with Shug to start a new life.Nettie’s letters transform the way Celie sees the world. From Nettie, Celie learns that Pa isn’t actually her biological father. Celie also learns that Nettie is living with the Reverend Samuel and his family, working as a missionary in Africa. The Reverend Samuel had also adopted Celie’s two children from Pa many years back. Nettie, Samuel, and the children plan to return from Africa soon.Celie learns that Pa has died. She also finds out that the house that Pa lived in actually has belonged to Celie and Nettie since their mother passed away. So now Celie owns a home, which she prepares for Nettie’s arrival. Now an independent woman, Celie remains close friends with Shug, although Shug is not faithful or constant in their romantic relationship. Celie also gains a new friend. After she left Mr.__, he became a changed man. He’s reformed and is now a pretty decent guy. Although Celie isn’t remotely romantically interested in him, they now enjoy each other’s company.After several decades abroad in Africa, Nettie returns with Samuel, who is now her husband, and with Celie’s two children. The sisters have a blissful reunion, and although they’re now old women, we get the sense that they’ve just begun the best years of their lives. "The Color Purple Summary." Shmoop. Shmoop.com, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. BASICALLY, Two sisters (Celie and Nettie) get separated because Celie gets married off. They write letters back and forth in order to stay in touch, but the letters don't get to Celie until she discovers her husband was hiding them from her. Celie's husband, Mr. _____, brings home his mistress, Shug Avery, who is very ill. Celie falls in love with her and eventually they have a physical relationship. Nettie goes to stay with Celie in order to get away from her father, but Celie's husband, Mr. _____, kicks her out after she refuses to sleep with him. Nettie becomes a missionary in Africa, and tells Celie all about the children that her Pa had taken away from Celie immediately after she gave birth. Nettie meets these children and makes sure Celie gets to meet them eventually. The sisters are eventually reunited and Celie escapes the abusive grip of her husband, and they never part again. The movie -directed by Steven Spielberg- is a fairly accurate representation of the novel, but it does have some deviations from the storyline. It leaves out some significant elements of the story, and it changes the order of events as well. Some of the major variations were: Mr. _____ attacks Nettie on her way to school in the movie, and he does not do that in the book. The relationship between Shug and Celie is not as intense in the movie as it is in the book. They have a passionate kiss scene in the book, which is ignored in the movie. Mr. _____ and Celie do not end up back together in the movie, and in the novel they come to terms with their relationship and remain together. In the novel, Celie and Shug go to Memphis to get away from Mr. ______. In the movie, Shug leaves, and Celie stays behind. The movie shows who Celie thinks is her daughter, Olivia, as an infant when Celie first sees her.

In the novel, she is around the age of 6. Why
do these
changes matter? WELL, Though the changes seem small, they do affect the storyline and the character development. Here's How: Since the relationship between Shug Avery and Celie never fully developed, it ignores the entire fact that they were both exploring their sexuality.

This was probably done just to avoid conflict back when the movie came out. HOWEVER, it did take away a huge part of the storyline. Everything that happened in the novel was spread out over a long span of time, not just a few years.
The drastic jumps in time really confuse the viewer. However, Some changes made in the novel actually enhance the storyline. In the movie when Celie tells Albert (Mr. _____) to take a hike, it adds to the development of Celie's character because it shows her getting stronger and believing in herself. The focus is primarily on Celie, and they don't show Nettie's life hardly at all. We don't get to see her missionary work in Africa. When Mr. _____ chases Nettie on her way to school and she refuses to sleep with him, it gives Mr. _____ a reason to kick her out, thus separating her from Celie. So, Even though some changes may have hindered the story, the movie successfully captures the essence of the novel. She learns that she doesn't need a man to tell her what to do. She is a strong, independent woman.
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