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The Color Purple
Transcript of The Color Purple
February 9, 1944 – Eatonton, Georgia
Growing up during Civil Rights Movement – impact on life
Career of novelist, poet, and activist
Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Tallulah Grant – sharecroppers
“She look me over from head to foot. Then she cackle. Sound like a death rattle. You sure is ugly, she say, like she ain’t believed it” (46).
Sharecropper and Racism Life: http://www.makers.com/alice-walker/moments/sharecroppers-political-courage
I Will Keep Broken Things
As a Young Woman
Valedictorian, voted most-popular girl, and crowned queen senior year at local high school
She has said that it was through that experience of her childhood had allowed her to begin “really to see people and things, really to notice relationships and to learn to be patient enough to care about how they turned out”.
Spelman College (1961) –activist in African American civil rights movement
Sarah Lawrence College (1963) – transfer
Uganda transfer student
Pregnant and abortion
Possible influence in writing
“He took it. He took it while I was sleeping. Kilt it out there in the woods” (2).
Two early composed pieces:
“To Hell with Dying,” – first published short story
Once: Poems – first volume of poetry
ACTIVIST IN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT & PUBLISHED WORKS
Involvement in civil rights movement (1965-1966) – volunteer on black voter registration drives
Civil Rights Movement inspiration
Meridian – controversial issue of sexism
The Color Purple (1982)
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – first African American woman
American Book Award
Steven Spielberg film (1985) – Oscar-nominated film
Prolific writer of poetry, children’s books, essays, short stories, and novels
Wild Tree Press and Ms. Magazine – feminist and women of color authors proponent
anti-apartheid movement, anti-nuclear movement, and against female genital mutilation
Success of Work
Two dozen languages
More than fifteen million copies
Quotes & Fun Facts
When asked, Walker answers…
Three words to describe herself?
Thoughtful, solitary, and amazed
First paying job?
Picking daffodils for 5 cents a bunch
Most meaningful advice?
“To be myself, and that was completely ample."
Advice for Young Women
“Happiness is important… One of the sad realities is how people get locked into the dream or the job or the career or whatever it is and it’s not them at all. It’s not what the soul is trying to find.”
Claim to Fame
“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”
Southern Literary Tradition
Books that share certain themes such as:
Sense of social class and place
The overwhelming sense of “place”
Use of S. dialect
Literature of the south or by writers from this region.
Harlem Renaissance in Literature
Began around 1923 and lasted till about 1940's
Migration of African Americans to Manhattan
Associated with the New Negro an essay written by Alain Locke written in 1925
Writings, poetry, art, and music were apart of the Harlem Renaissance
"The fiction is that life of the races is separate and increasingly so. The fact is that they have touched too closely at the unfavorable and too lightly at the favorable levels."
How it Began
Influential southern novels that started this tradition:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884)
Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner (1936)
Southern American English
There are a number of sub-regional dialects found across the southern U.S.
We see a Deep South dialect in The Color Purple, which helps give us a cultural and geographical location of the book.
Examples of Dialect in the Book
‘Kine’ instead of Kind (pg. 1)
‘gainst’ instead of against
‘Naw’ instead of No (pg. 1)
‘Mammy’ instead of mom/mommy (pg. 1)
‘Git’ instead of get (pg. 1)
Lack of the work ‘is’
Harlem Renaissance in
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring: Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Adolph Caesar, Rae Dawn Chong and Whoopi Goldberg (breakthrough role)
“Sentimental tale that reveals great emotional truths in American History” – Rotten Tomatoes
“One of the most amazing debut performances in movie history” – Chicago Sun-Times on Whoopi Goldberg’s portrayal of Celie
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Goldberg)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Avery and Winfrey)
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Cinematography (Allen Davian)
Best Art Direction—Set Decoration (J Michael Riva), Bo Welch, Linda DeScenna
Best Costume Design (Aggie Guerard Rodgers)
Best Makeup (Ken Chase)
Best Music, Original Score
Best Original Song (“Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)”) The Color Purple – Musical
“Letters to God” style
Circle plot - separation back to wholeness
The main plot revolves around a series of reunions.
Very short chapters that explain in short the trials and tribulations Celie (and, later, Nettie) experience.
Touch upon topics very briefly, doesn’t go into elaborate development
Later, after reuniting with Nellie, goes into much more detail - happier
"Alice Walker: 'Go to the Places That Scare You'" The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 05 Oct. 2012. Web. 09 Nov. 2013.
"Alice Walker." MAKERS. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Enoch Pratt Free Library." African American Department. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"A Feminist Theory Dictionary." A Feminist Theory Dictionary. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Harlem Renaissance." Harlem Renaissance. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Harlem Renaissance." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Harlem Renaissance." PBS. PBS. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Oh My Godot." : Out Spotlight. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
PBS. PBS. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
"Reverse Shot." The Color Purple. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
SparkNotes. SparkNotes. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
Celie is a fourteen year old African American Girl living in Georgia
She is physically and sexually abused regularly by her father Alphanso
Her mother dies which is why her father turned to her, and she has had two children because of it
The first child was killed by her father in the woods and the second she thinks will be sold to a family
Alphanso finds a new wife which does not end the abuse for Celie
An unnamed man showed interest to marry Celies younger sister, Alphanso does not approve of this and suggests that he marries Celie which he agrees to do
Celie later sees her second daughter in town.
Family of Her Own
Melvyn Leventhal (1967)– Jewish civil rights lawyer
Rebecca – (2000) memoir “Black, White, and Jewish”
“a political symbol…than a cherished daughter”