The book The Color Purple was written by Alice Walker. The book was not written in a conventional manner. It was a series of letters spanning the life of Celie, the main character. Most of the letters were written by Celie and some by her sister Nettie. The theme of the book is to be true to yourself in spite of difficulties and never let go of what you believe in. Do not let people make you think you are something that you are not, then you have the will to survive during the worst of times. The Color Purple is about Celie’s life.
In the beginning of the novel, we learn that Celie was raped by her father. We also learn that Celie’s mother is ill and is unable to take care of the family. Celie is forced to cook and clean for her family. Celie conceived two children because of her father’s continuous raping. She never sees her children and believes that her father killed them. A man from town wanted to take Celie’s sister Nettie as a wife, but her father convinces the man to take Celie instead. Celie is now forced to marry an older man who already has children.
Celie’s husband constantly beats and rapes her without any remorse. He even made Celie nurse Shug Avery, his mistress, when she was ill. It is now that Celie learns from Shug Avery about love. Shug Avery encourages Celie not to take the abuse from her husband anymore and that she deserves better. Celie would finally leave her husband when she found out that he kept her sister’s letters from her. Nettie was the sole reason why Celie had managed to survive. Celie could not tolerate any more abuse and left with Shug Avery and Mary Agnes.
Mary Agnes was Celie’s stepson’s mistress. Celie eventually meets up with Nettie and her two children whom she believed to be dead. She than goes back to her husband who has drastically changed since Shug Avery and Celie left. This novel was set in the early 1900’s. During this time, the black people were oppressed by white people. They were abused and taken advantage of. Not only were the black people were oppressed but also women were oppressed. They had little freedom and were unable to be self-sufficient. Women at that time were thought of as property.
These are some of the reasons why Celie had such a hard life. Celie was not very attractive and had no education. The first time she met Shug Avery she said, “you’re sure ugly. ” In the beginning of the novel she was very obedient and acted like a slave. Towards the end of the novel she exhibits her newfound self-esteem and feelings of independence. Shug Avery was a very beautiful singer. She was free spirited and is did not have to rely on anyone for help. Celie’s husband was a very cruel man and never once stopped to think about Celie’s feelings.
He constantly beat her and forced himself upon her. Near the end of the novel his character drastically changes and realizes that he was wrong to treat Celie the way he did. After reading this novel, I realized that black women in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s had a very hard life. I had always stereotyped black woman during that time to resemble Aunt Jemina. I have learned that black woman during the 1800’s had to be strong and courageous just to make it through the day. To survive a lifetime they had to look within themselves to gather the will to survive.