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The Color Purple
Transcript of The Color Purple
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The story centers around Celie, an African American woman who has grown up with the crippling belief that she has no place in the world. Her whole life she has accepted that women, especially black women, are to listen to their husbands and care for the children - nothing more. Celie knows how to survive however, and needs little to get by.
Celie grew up with her younger sister Nettie in a household full of children. Their mother was ill and slowly dying, and their stepfather was an abusive man. "Pa" took advantage of Celie multiple times, getting her pregnant twice at only fourteen. Celie never had the opportunity to care for her children though, as shortly after they were born Pa took them and Celie never saw them again. She was convinced that he took them into the woods and killed them.
Walker uses broken English and a lack of basic education to create somewhat of an innocent character out of Celie. In the book, Nettie attempts to school Celie about the world and teach her basic reading, writing and, arithmetic skills. This fails however when Nettie is given to a young man to be his wife and Celie begs to be taken instead. These circumstances interupt her education and make for a very interesting read through Celie's slang-filled speech.
This does not however make Celie an Innocent-Eye Narrator; Celie knows and understands the ways of the world and what is happening to her throughout the story and forms strong opinions of events and people. For example she comes to detest her husband Albert because of his constant abuse and neglect.
Over time Celie learned of Albert's lover Shug Avery: a flamboyant and vulgar blues singer. One day Celie stole a photo of Shug from Albert and fell in love with her.
Soon afterward Albert announced that Shug would be coming to stay with them. She was very sick and needed help. When she arrived however Celie was very disappointed; Shug looked nothing like her picture. She was thin, and sickly, and much meaner than Celie had dreamt her up to be.
Despite her bad reputation Shug had an overwhlemingly positive effect on Celie. She showed Celie that she had a purpose; that she deserved to want. Shug's love and support for Celie gave her the courage to stand up to Albert, and to ask for more, and with the help of friends the two left Albert's house and moved to Shug's home in Memphis.
Before Celie left her abusive household to live with the love of her life, she discovered a secret Albert was keeping from her. When Celie and her sister were seperated years ago Nettie told Celie that they should always try to write to each other. When Celie never recieved any letters, she was convinced that Nettie was dead. One day while combing through Albert's things Shug and Celie found a pile of envelopes addressed to Celie: Nettie's letters.
Albert had been keeping them from Celie. Nettie was alive and working in Africa as a missionary to the tribes there. Nettie wrote to Celie all about Africa and the tribe she lived with, the Olinka. She met a man named Samuel and his wife Corrine in town one day and found out that they were missionaries too. Nettie asked if she could join them to Africa. She had been there ever since. Nettie hoped to see Celie again and told her that her children were alive! Samuel and Corrine adopted them. Their names were Adam and Olivia.
Celie is overjoyed to hear her sister is alive and that she does indeed have children. She begins to write to Nettie; it is here that the format of the story changes. Before, the story was comprised of letters Celie wrote to God. Now she writes to Nettie and this format takes over as the primary form of narration until the end of the book. Chapters alternate between Celie and Nettie's letters to each other - allowing readers to learn about Nettie's experience in Africa as well as what Celie is experiencing