Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Every week by Saturday morning...
* Read 100 to 150 pages.

* Write 300+ words a week in response to your reading.
* Respond analytically and personally to what you have read.
* Discuss the significance of at least one passage/quotation.
* Discuss the relationship between what you are reading and something(s) else you have read this year.
* Respond to a comment made by a peer (after the first week).

25 comments:

Sarah Al-Edwan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Al-Edwan said...

In The Color Purple by Alice Walker Celie is able to document and release the secrets of her troubled life to who seems to be the only one she can trust, God. With the abuse from her father, and the death of her mother it seems that Celie has no where to turn. Although she has her sister Nettie who she is close with, she feels protective of her and there for is unable to confide in her. I noticed that Celie never actually mentions the name of her father, she always refers to him as “he or him” but never by the name of “father or dad etc” I think that this is because she is so disturbed and also intimidated by his abuse, that not only is she unable to look at him as a father, but in a way she is demeaning him by not calling him his respectful title, which could possibly be a form of rebellion. Celie also leaves out the name of her husband who she refers to as Mr. ____ although we later find out his first name is Albert.
I also thought that the way her father basically traded his daughter Nettie for Celie was extremely disturbing. You could tell by Celie’s letters that she was extremely worried what her father would do to Nettie more than she was thankful for being able to escape. And although she left her father’s abuse she now had to endure the physical abuse of her new husband. It is apparent that Celie is basically an object, not a human to everyone she meets. This point reminds me of the savages found in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. With her lack of education, and respect for herself because what she has been through, Celie is seen as just a worker, and a sexual outlet mainly for the men in her life.
When Shug Avery comes in to Celie’s life things take a turn. Although at first Celie is fascinated with the picture of Shug, she begins to get upset when she realizes that both her and her husband have affection for this woman. Celie says “Before I know it, tears meet under my chin. And I’m confuse. He love looking at Shug. I love looking at Shug. But Shug don’t love looking at but one of us. Him.” Although our first impression of Shug is that she is a scandalous provocative woman, it becomes obvious that she may become an important outlet for Celie, a friend and possibly more. This becomes apparent on page 77 where Celie talks about Shug’s song for her. She says “Then I hear my name. Shug saying Celie. Miss Celie. And I look up where she at. She say my name again. She say this song I’m about to sing is call Miss Celie’s song. Cause she scratched it out of my head when I was sick.” This book is full of dysfunctional relationships, and Celie has so far been unable to experience any type of humanity or compassion from others. I look forward to reading on and finding out if Shug and possibly the upcoming letters from her sister help her grow as a character.

Molly A said...

Molly A.

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker is the story of a black woman named Celie, written through letters she writes to God. She, from page one, is taken advantage of: raped, abused, and devalued. As a child, it was her father who attacked her, and she subsequently suffered several pregnancies with him. Despite her painful childhood and adult life, Celie is a typical maternal figure, looking after those younger than her: her sister Nettie, Albert’s (her husband’s) children, etc. She lives her life without a word of defense or something clever to sass back with. She believes that her place is cooking, cleaning, caring for children, and providing a man with sex whenever he happens to want it. This element of the book is what caught my attention the most, in the first 107 pages. Celie, among the several other women in her life, is the only one who cant seem to stand her own ground. With her father‘s abuse, she simply bore it until Mr._______ (Albert) took her away. However, Nessie got out, found Celie, then, as far as the reader knows thus far in the book, either moved on with life or died. Celie is bossed and abused by Mr. _______ and Shug doesn’t allow him to treat her poorly at all. Celie even preaches to Squeak the lesson that Sofia taught her: to demand respect and put up a fight. Yet, she cant manage to follow the directions she hands out.
One passage that I loved was on page 43-44 “She say, To tell the truth…I sleeps like a baby now.” It is where Sofie is explaining her ways and reasoning to being a strong women. Comparatively, her and Celie have had similarly harsh backgrounds, with different approaches to it. That is what I found makes Celie different from all women characters. She is, by far, the weakest and most manipulative. For her to adopt the mindset of the women who surround her, would be world changing and she would be in a very different situation. It reminds me of Invisible Man, how his role in society changes, as a result of his own actions. If Celie had actions, maybe the way she is treated by those around her, would change. And quite possibly, that’s what is in store for her next.

ter said...

Terri M.

Just as Sarah said, this book is full of dysfunctional relationships. When I first started reading it I felt sick to my stomach because of the way the Celie was treated by her father. The way that she talks about it is disturbing because she does not really seem to care enough to do anything to stop her father from doing this to her. She even tries to make her father want to abuse her by dressing up, so that he will not hurt her sister. Celie does not know what a healthy relationship is, and that is why she can speak up for herself, even when she goes away to stay with Mr.______(Albert). A quote that supports this is found on page 66 when Celie is talking to Harpo, “ Mr. ____ marry me to take care of his children. I marry him cause my daddy made me. I don’t love Mr. and he don’t love me.”
I agree with Molly inn the sense that Celie reminds me of the protagonist of Invisible Man. The difference with this book is that the people who abuse her are not named but everyone else so far is. In Invisible Man we knew everyone’s name except IM’s.
The way that Celie does not say the name of her husband or refer to her father in any way other the pronouns is definitely important. She does not want to name her abusers. To her they are people who hurt her physically and mentally and she does not want to say their name. Celie has people to look at who have relationships where they are relatively happy, or if they are not, they do something about the situation. For example Shug Avery says that Celie’s husband does not abuse her and they are having an affair. It is strange in it’s self that Celie lets Shug and her husband be together like this, but I think there is something she should be learning from their relationship. Even if it is as simple as leaving. Another woman that is close to Celie is Sofia. Sofia fights back but she ends up in jail. I think the author is trying to show the readers that you can fight too hard. There is also the relationship between Harpo and Sofia, Sofia and the prizefighter, Celie and Shug, and Harpo and “Squeak”. The most functional relationship was between Sofia and Harpo in the beginning, but at has started going down hill.
I am interested to find out how this all ends. I hope that Sofia will stick up for herself, but I do not think she will.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

When I finished reading The Color Purple I realized that my prediction of the strong woman around Celie such as Shug and Sofia would help her stand up for herself and become her own woman was true. I agree with Molly that although Celie and Sofia come from similar backgrounds, where Sofia learned to stand up for herself in a house full of men and a lack of power, Celie was unable to stand up for herself for so many years. Although being married to Albert seemed like a punishment, out of that marriage Celie was able to make connections witch eventually helped her out of her situation and let her have the opportunity to establish a real life for herself. Celie finally gets the courage to ask Albert for her letters, and to curse him for everything he has done. At the end of this letter to Nettie, Celie says “I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here.” Celie realizes that she actually deserves to have a life, and that even with all the negatives people have pointed out about her she is still a human and deserves to be treated so.
Soon after at Sofia’s sister’s house Celie finally reveals to Albert that she is moving and leaving with Shug. Albert is shocked that his wife would speak out like that and that the love of his life (Shug not Celie) is leaving. I think that this is the real turning point in both the book and Celie’s life. Also, Albert realizes what he actually had having both Shug and Celie at his house and he is able to clean up his act once he realizes this. At Shug’s house she makes a living by doing something she is good at: making pants, and then eventually her step father (whom she recently found out was not her real father, making her abuse less painful to deal with) dies and leaves her his property.
It seems that Celie’s life continues to get better when she is able to have a normal friendship with Albert, and when she realizes that even though she doesn’t have Shug as a partner, they will always have each other. At the end of the book when Celie’s sister Nettie returns it is obvious that Celie has everything she needs. Although her life is clearly dysfunctional and it is apparent that she will never settle down, get married and have a “normal” life for the first time Celie is genuinely happy. She says on the last page “But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt” She also end her letter “Amen” as if somehow her faith in God has been restored.

ter said...

Terri M.

In the next section of The Color Purple that I have read the major event is that the relationship between Celie and Shug takes a big step. Celie opens up a lot to Shug, and they have a physical relationship too. I think part of the reason Celie turns to Shug this way is because of the kindness the Shug has showed her. Other than Nettie, Shug is the only other person who has taken interest in Celie in way that shows that she cares for her at all. Shug helps Celie find letters that Nettie has been writing but that Albert has been intercepting. We find out that Albert tried to be with Nettie but since she refused to be with them that way he swore to not let her contact Celie. Celie gets the key to chest that Albert is hiding the letters in. The passage continues with a twist of letters that are from Nettie to Celie instead of Celie to God. Celie tells about her experiences as a missionary to Africa with a couple that she is being a maid for. I liked this passage because Celie is happy to read the letters from her sister, the sad part is she wants to kill Albert, literally, for keeping the letters from her.
Part of the section reminded me of the book Heart of Darkness. “But I never dreamed of going to Africa! I never even thought about it as a real place…Miss Beasley used to say it was a place overrun with savages who didn’t wear clothes.” (page 137) Not only did this passage remind me of Joseph Conrad’s book, but I found it significant that Nettie is going to Africa. She is going as a missionary. I think it is important that she is going to Africa because it is a way of connecting with her heritage and I think that Cellie will benefit from reading about it. I want Celie to stick up for herself so badly.
I did not want to read all of Sarah’s post on the blog because she said that she finished the book, but in her first paragraph she said that Celie does stick up for herself and this makes me happy. She is surrounded by some strong woman, such as Sofia, Shug and even Nettie through the letters.

Katina T said...

“The Color Purple” is a collection of letters to god from a girl named Celie. Through out the book, Celie is abused, raped, beaten, etc. by male figures in her life. For example, at the beginning of the book, her mother becomes sick. Because of this, her father takes out his sexual needs on Celie. Celie bears two children from her father, one of which he kills, and the other is sold. She has a sister, Nettie, who Celie cares very much for. Celie starts to notice her father eyeing her sister and instantly becomes worried. Nettie has a boyfriend, Mr.____. When Mr.____ asks for her hand in marriage, their father denies his request, thinking up anything for an excuse. Their father offers Celie to Mr.____ instead. Mr._____ eventually accepts this, and marries her, but Celie is extremely nervous about what may become of Nettie, who eventually runs away. Their marriage has no love involved, and her husband only uses her to take care of his children from a past marriage, and to watch over the household. He is also another male figure in her life who abuses her. Celie is beaten by Mr._____, for no apparent reason at times. Celie is just an object that the men in her life use. Because of this, “The Color Purple” reminds me of the previous book I was reading called “The Awakening.” In “The Awakening” the main character is also stuck in a society where she is only seen as a tool in a man’s life. Celie’s sad realization that she is just an object doesn’t change her outlook. She continues to do whatever her husband says. The strong women in the book have all told her to fight for her rights. But Celie knows she is too scared and too worn down to fight back. Realizing that she can’t fight back makes her depressed. In fact, when Harpo wonders how he can make his wife obey him, Celie tells him to beat her. Harpo’s wife, Sophia, is a friend of Celie. She has never done anything but be nice to her, and Celie just found it natural that her husband should beat her, even though she knows from experience, just how painful that is. This leads me to a scene that stuck out to me; when Sophia, confronts Celie about telling Harpo that he should beat her. Celie tries to explain why she did it by saying, “I say it cause I’m a fool, I say. I say it cause I’m jealous of you. I say it cause you do what I can’t.” When Sophia asks what that is, Celie says, “Fight.” The angry face of Sophia instantly became sad. As Molly says in her blog, Celie and Sophia both have similar backgrounds, yet they each have different ways to approach it. One gets pushed around, while the other stands her ground. As I read on, I hope that Celie can learn from the strong women in her life, and start to stand up for herself.

Brianna A said...

“The Color Purple” is already a powerful and disturbing story. Celie is already tainted even at such a young age. She has endured extremely horrific events and doesn’t realize how strong she is for it. As she writes her letters to God, she is extremely personal and private because she knows no one else will read them. This is the only place where Celie can release her thoughts. She never stands up for herself but is constantly worried what will happen to her and even Nettie with her father. Although it is clear because Celie has been called ugly and Mr. __ only settles for Celie rather Nettie, that Celie is often overlooked, but she still worries. The compassion that she shares for her sister and children is limited because Celie has been hurt by those around her and has never been loved. I thought what Sarah first said about the way that Celie refers to her father as “He” and to her husband as “Mr. __” as a form of rebellion was really interesting because at first I just saw it as fear and as a way to distance herself, so to make the blows easier to deal with. I like that Sarah pointed that out though because it gives hope to Celie’s spirit of rebellion just like in the quotation, “He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it. But I don't never git used to it.” The fact that Celie never gets used to it is extremely sad but also hopeful. If she never gets used to it then it is still affecting her and however slowly, Celie will hopefully fight back because she should never settle for that abuse. This reminds of Jane Eyre because Jane is constantly overlooked and abused by her family and even by those at school but every once in a while she will say things similar to what Celie says that will give hope to her character to fight back and stand up for herself, as she did to her aunt.

ter said...

Terri M.

I finished The Color Purple. I loved it. The book continues to be written in letters between Celie and her sister Nettie. Nettie is Africa being a missionary with a family. The wife of the family, Corrine, dies and Nettie marries the husband missionary, Samuel. The children that Samuel and Corrine adopted are ironically enough the children of Celie. Celie discovers that the man who she thought was her father who raped her, is actually her step dad. All these details are revealed in a interesting way. Eventually the Nettie, her new husband and Celie’s children come home to America. The reunion between Nettie and Celie is touching because they have not seen each other in over thirty years, but their letters have kept the up to date in almost every aspect of their lives. Shug, who is basically Celie soulmate leaves to be with a young man. This hurts Celie greatly but she deals with it the best she can. During the time she is waiting for Nettie to come home she talks to her old husband. They never really got divorced but they just did not get along. Her husband liked Shug aswell as Celie and this caused animosity between them. They do talk and their relationship is not as strained when Shug is away.
One quote that Nettie says kind of sums up the feeling that Celie has as about men in general, although Nettie is talking about the native Africans. It says, “ There is a way that the men speak to woman that reminds me too much of Pa. They listen just long enough to issue instructions.”

Katina T said...

Towards the end of the next hundred pages written, I noticed a severe change in Celie’s attitude. On page 192, Celie stops writing to God. She feels that God has never done anything for her, and is just like all other men. Throughout these one hundred pages, she develops a relationship with Shug, who is a strong character in comparison to Celie. As they become closer, Celie has someone to depend on, other than God. At first, it seemed as though Shug was the hard hearted character in their relationship, while Celie was the helpless and lost one. But as they form bonds with one another, Celie seems to melt Shug’s cold nature, and Shug slowly turns into the more nurturing of the two, while Celie becomes more confident. Interestingly enough, Molly mentions in her blog how Celie is a motherly figure in the novel. I think that as she deals with the pressures of trying to take care of everyone, Shug is a breath of fresh air. Shug was the first person who Celie talked to about Nettie, her sister. She was trusting Shug more and more, and as she told Shug about her sister, Shug realized that Mr._____ had been hiding letters from Celie all along from Nettie. The book then transitions from just letters from Celie, to letters from Nettie also. Realizing that Mr._____ had been hiding these letters from her all this time was the turning point for Celie. Nettie had been the only person in the world that had loved her until she had met Shug, and seeing that Mr.____ had intentionally kept these letters away had finally put some fight in her. Readers can easily see the change in her on page 192, when Celie says,” Anyhow, I say, the God I been praying to and writing to is a man. And act just like all the other mens I know. Trifling, forgitful, and lowdown.” Celie has finally built up some anger after years of silent resentment. It just took her husband keeping her from the one person that loved her to ignite the flame. Celie holds on to this flame, and decided to leave with Shug. During the scene where this happens, Celie finally stands up to Mr.____. Even when Mr._____ tries to break her down as he usually does, Celie has developed so much, that it does not stop her. As she frees herself from the clutches of her husband, she also frees Squeaks, who plans to leave with them too. Just like the strong women had helped her develop, she is also helping someone along in their journey too.

Brianna A said...

As Terry and Katina mentioned Shug’s significance to Celie’s growth it reminded me of the difference to Edna in The Awakening’s significance. Celie, like Edna, is brought down by men and by society. Celie finds her inspiration and awakening within Shug but Edna finds it through art. Although both are sexually awakened, Shug is a much different inspiration to Celie than art is for Edna. Celie has lived her life from abusive relationship to abusive relationship. Her awakening was finding the strength in herself to stand up to the brute forces acting down on her. Edna was more about turning to face society and showing it the suffering that she has been put through. Edna’s protest was awakened with waves and music while Celie is awakened with family and power. This power struggle Celie searches for throughout the book parallels the power struggle Edna faces for her own possession. Shug is an idol to Celie. From the moment Celie saw Shug’s picture she saw strength in the sexy confidence that Shug was showing off. But Shug represented more than strength. As Celie mentioned, Shug was sometimes more manly than the men. In that aspect Shug was a vessel for Celie to understand men. If Celie could stand next to the strength in Shug then she could stand up to the strength of men. When Shug leaves she is representing all the lost loved ones of Celie’s. To prove that Celie doesn’t need Shug or anyone else that has left her, her and Mr. ____ end and Celie is able to reunite with her true family. On page 255 when Celie says that she looks at Shug and can “feel the world at peace” she is finally able to feel at peace with the conflicts she has been struggling with throughout the novel such as freedom, abuse, sexuality, and family. Shug represents all these ideas in different ways but Celie needed that one step up of being close to Shug to be able to keep moving forward and step up herself.

Hayden said...

"The Color Purple" was a truly inspiring book. Out of the books I've read Celie is one of the most dynamic as she develops throughout the book. Starting at a level comparable to maggots and turning into a strong and independent woman she utterly triumphs in a sense of growth. Thought the hardships she faces are brutal, through beating she receives as Mr.____'s wife and from her father, with helping push from Shug Avery she starts to become more.
As I read through the story Celie surprised me in numerous ways. First of all finding her intoxication to Shug as she shelters her. Celie's actions change from a passive to downright physical.
Compared to the only other book I've read this year with an African-American protagonist, Ivisible Man, Celie and the invisible man have a plethora of similarities. For instance neither character would have started to evolve if not for the influence of an important figure in each character's life (Celie- Shug Avery, I.M.-The Dean of the college he attended.) Even though Celie's was a positive change compared to the I.M.'s starting his journey to find himself due to his feeling's of neglect from his community and shunning them in response. But Celie was influenced positively and even though she received neglect for being a black woman, Shug Avery opened up a new idea of the world for her and she created something better out of her situation and found a companion unlike I.M. who lived in his invisibleness so much that he indirectly avoided interaction for fear of betrayal.
"The Color Purple" was a great book I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys a story of growth in a dire situation.

Katina T said...

Out of all the novels I have read this year, Celie is the character that has transformed the most from beginning to finish. She starts off with no confidence or will to fight for herself. Celie is pushed around and lets everyone walk all over her. But by the end, Celie has left her abusive husband (who is now a reformed man), started her own business, and lives in her own house. A significant quote to her development is the last sentences of the book hen she says, “I feel a little peculiar round the children. For one thing, they grown. And I see that they think me and Nettie and Shug and Albert and Samuel and Harpo and Sofia and Jack and Odessa real old and don’t know much what going on. But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.” It seems as though most of the problems in the book are now resolved. Just as Bri said, Celie is “at peace” with her relationship with Shug, along with all the other conflicts in her life. She has learned to deal with her problems, instead of not solving them at all, like she would have done when she had no confidence or drive to stand up for herself. Mr.____ and Celie are now friends, and Nettie and Celie reunite. Celie is now a strong woman, and everyone is happy. Walker wrote about an extremely successful transformation of her main character. This reminds me of not how it is similar to book, but how it is completely different from one; The Awakening. Unlike Edna, in The Awakening, Celie has a happy ending, which is a lot more uplifting, compared to Edna drowning herself.

Brianna A said...

The color purple was definitely one of my favorite books to read on my own. Although I can understand why it was highly banned from shelves across the country for its disturbing detail, I think it’s a beautiful story and one that needs to be understood. Overall the book was captivating. The point of view and style that Alice Walker used to tell the story was especially significant to the story. Having the story told by letters written to at first, God, immediately had the Celie’s voice and character inside my head. The way that she describes certain acts seems so innocent and simply sad like using simply words like “thing” and “plunge” and “push” but I know that these acts are way more disturbing and corrupting then Celie wants to lead on. I think that how the story is told is one of the most powerful things about it. Celie is learning how to identify herself within her letters to God. This expression is what needs to be heard outside of Celie’s prays and is what Walker is signifying woman to take part in. The expression and action of emotions and thoughts are what empower woman, especially timid and threatened women abused like Celie. Celie thinks she is safe within her letters to God because no one but Him and her read them. In actuality, Celie is slowly becoming stronger the more she is able to exhale and really digest what is really happening to her. Sometimes hearing it out loud or reading what you have just written can free you. This power of the narrative relates a lot to As I Lay Dying. As I Lay Dying’s significance comes from a lot about how it is written. The family is not able to communicate with each other well at all. They all have their own issues and thoughts but can only truly express them within their own monologuing Celie does. The power of words and the way they are expressed can give the strength to characters to transform amazingly as Celie does in The Color Purple.

Molly A said...

Molly A.

I read until page 202 of The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and from my last post, at page 107, Celie’s views and ideas on the importance of life have changed greatly. She was a controlled, tamed, and unhappy woman surrounded by others who fought against that fate. She preached it and understood it but could not abide by freedom’s standards- until this portion of the book. Now Sofia, one of Celie’s main inspirations, was put in jail and forced to become the mayor’s maid because she violently stood up for what she believed in. Celie’s sister, Nettie, writes her letters from her various places and journeys stating subtly, in almost every single one, that there is a world where women are not only women who abide by man’s rule. Celie is abound to rebel against Mr. _____. During the period where Nettie was writing about her encounters with the Olinka, she elaborated on how crazy and wrong it is that the men have more than one wife and that the women and children can not get an education. However, had Nettie been put in the situation Celie was put in, she would have been living a similar life, because until Celie left with Shug, she simply answered to Mr. _____. Nettie and Celie have been separated for so long, that they don’t know or understand the lifestyle of their sister, and the Olinkan lifestyle that Nettie criticizes and finds so wrong, is not that different from Celie’s.
In this portion of the book, I noticed a quote on page 173, “Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear Celie. We celebrate it here on the ‘dark’ continent with prayer and song and a large picnic complete with watermelon, fresh fruit punch, and barbecue! God bless you, Nettie” The dark continent. We saw this in Heart of Darkness quite frequently, however it was never referred to the dark continent with such a positive and uplifting definition. I took this as a symbol of Nettie’s hope. Although the issues in this novel have more to do with man and woman relationships, the issue of race is mentioned and was elaborated on when Celie found out about her real father. Perhaps that hope that she possesses will be needed- in herself, Celie, or even Shug- at a point to come in the novel.

Molly A said...

Molly A.

I read until the end of The Color Purple, and in the conclusion of the novel, nearly everything is resolved. Celie- a newly independent and unafraid woman manages to establish a friendship with the former most frightening part of her life, Mr. _____. She is reunited with her sister, and she meets (for the very first time) her children Adam and Olivia. Celie’s development throughout her life in the novel is amazingly positive. She is abused, raped, told what to do and she abides, sits back, and lets her life be dictated by the wishes of other people, at the beginning of the novel. However by the end she is changed, she is with her family, living her life the way she wishes- she wears the clothes she once dreamt of and admired and for the very first time she feels the way that she wants. I thought much about Celie’s development and why and how it took place. I noticed that all of the female characters around her- Nettie, Sophia, Shug, and even Squeak eventually found their voice and used it to preach and act upon their freedom. I believe that this was Celie’s inspiration and idea. She must have found hope in the fact that several of her closest friends and family could experience the wonders of life, and that hope doubtlessly inspired her to seek it on her own.

I found this argument similar to Jane Eyre’s passion vs. sacrifice. However, it is sacrifice Celie needs to give up, it is sacrifice she has spent her whole life on. Alice Walker leaves the reader at a point where Celie is open and willing to feel passion, something she was only able to feel in the arms of Shug, and Shug helped save her.

Sabrina said...

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker is a strange story of a girl, Celie, who has a terrifying life. Celie is a young girl who has obeyed everyone of superiority to her. She is very protective but has no aggression or feelings. Celie is constantly protecting her sister, Nettie, in the beginning of the book from her demented father who rapes Celie and then sells the children. When her father finally gets rid of his daughter Celie to Albert who really wants Nettie, Celie finds herself talking care of children who are not her. One day, she sees a little girl who she seems to think is her daughter Olivia, who was taken from her as a baby. At one point, Celie asks her new step mother about “Shug”. Celie finds herself interested in Shug, and after she marries Albert and Shug gets sick, they take her in. Celie knows that she has no interest in men, due to what she went through as a child and the way that her husband beats her. As she takes care of Shug more and more, she finds herself sexually attracted to her. Unfortunately, Shug sleeps with Celie’s husband every night. Celie is jealous when Shug does not show her all of the attention. Through all of this, Albert’s son and Celie’s stepson, Harpo is heartbroken when he falls in love with a girl at church, Sofia, marries her, and she later leaves him. Sofia ends up in jail for her behavior at Harpo’s new joint. There, Sofia knocks out two of Harpo’s new girlfriend Mary’s teeth. After three years in jail, Sofia comes home and is the maid for the mayor. Celie and her remain close friends, and one day, Celie makes Sofia laugh after three years. Celie goes through a lot of changes through the first 100 pages. She finds herself protecting her sister, not protecting herself, falling for a woman, and feeling nothing.


Page 50: “I want her here, I say, too quick. He look at me life maybe I’m planning something bad.”
In this letter to God, when Albert and Celie are taking in Shug, Albert asks if Celie wants to keep Shug at their house. When Celie answers immediately, Albert wonders if Celie is up to no good, wanting to harm Shug. This passage is important because it shows how little Albert knows his wife. First of all, Celie would not hurt a fly, as she reveals to us when talking to Sofia about how she has never hit anyone and never stuck up for herself. Second, Albert does not realize how little Celie truly feels toward him. Albert is just someone she has married, not someone she is attracted to. In fact, Celie is actually attracted to Shug and has always been. It is important to see that Albert does not know his wife, he is attracted to Shug and Nettie more than Celie.

I agree with Brianna about how this book should be “banned from the shelves across the country.” The book is graphic, but the read is interesting. It is a book that you want to constantly keep reading. Its details are sometimes too much, but the storyline of “The Color Purple” is engaging. The book reminds me of As I Lay Dying because Dewey Dell constantly popped in my mind as she resembles Celie. Although the books are almost opposites, I feel like the pregnancies and hard family life of Dewey Dell and Celie connect in a weird way.

Megan Keegan said...

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker begins when Celie is introduced. Celie is a young girl who has been raped by her father because her mother has refused to sexually please him. For this reason he has resorted to Celie. Soon after her mother falls ill, Celie discovers that she is pregnant with an incensed child. The baby was killed by her soon after it was born. When she becomes pregnant again, Fonso, her father, sells the baby. Soon after, a suitor comes to the house wanting to marry Celie’s sister Nettie, but her father convinces him to take Celie instead because she is a good worker. Albert and Celie are married but there is no love between them. In fact, Albert is in love with a blues singer named Shug who is the mother of some of his children but would not marry him. By living with Albert and caring for his children and house, Celie becomes close to one son in particular, Harpo. Harpo tells her about his life and love and Celie tries to help him in whatever way she can. News spreads that Shug is coming into town and Celie is very excited because she has wanted to see her in person for a very long time. When Shug arrives, Albert does not stay with Celie at home but is away for the time Shug is in town. Over time, Harpo marries Sophia, his girlfriend who is pregnant. The marriage is abusive and it is soon evident that Sophia beats Harpo severely. Shug Avery falls ill and Albert takes her to his home to care for her. For the first time, he asks Celie if she is ok with having Shug in the house. Celie, who has a particular attraction to Shug wants her to stay. By taking care of her, Celie and Albert get closer. Celie’s daily tasks turn from caring for the house to solely watching over Shug. Being together everyday, the two get very close and Celie begins to fall in love with her. In this time, Harpo and Sophia have had serious problems. Sophia takes the children from Harpo and moves to live with her sister. In order to cope with the loss of his family, Harpo and his friend open a juke joint called Harpo’s and ask Shug to perform. When Shug is healthy enough, she tells Celie she is ready to leave but Celie asks her to stay so that Albert will not abuse her. Shug agrees and stays, continuing to sleep with Albert. She shows Celie how to please herself physically so that she does not feel so alone when Shug is with her husband. During a performance at Harpo’s, Sophia and Harpo get in an argument. Soon after they discover that Sophia is in jail. She has been treated brutally by the police and the family decides to try to get her out by using Harpo’s new girlfriend to talk to the warden of police who is her uncle.

On a personal level, no book that I have read has hit home more than this one. The problems are not completely relatable because I have never been in a hostile situation as Celie has, but from a woman’s point of view it is easy to feel for her. The things that she has been put through are more than most people have ever had to deal with and the fact that she can still see love in the world, the way she feels with Shug is amazing to me. It is not surprising that she can only see love in Shug because she has only ever been mistreated by men.

The passage when Celie first learns that Shug is coming to town particularly stood out to me. Celie had heard of Shug from the moment she met Albert and had always thought of her as some kind of goddess like human. Even when she had never seen Shug, she carried around her picture in her pocket and felt a certain kind of infatuation toward her. When she learned that Shug was coming to town and Albert was going to see her, Celie felt no jealousy or anger, just bliss that she would get to see her. This particularly caught my attention. Celie was not angry at all that her husband wanted to see another woman who he is still in love with, she was just excited because she felt a connection to Shug.

Megan Keegan said...

The Color Purple reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre, the way the Celie feels as though she doesn’t really fit in correctly anywhere. The same way that Jane never felt at home places, Celie never feels comfortable unless she is around Shug the way that Jane feels around Rochester.

I agree with the way that Brianna spoke about Celie’s letters to God and how they are the only place that she can truly speak her mind. It is sad to me that she has no one that will listen to her or understand her pain. Her relationship with Shug is very good for her, but she cannot tell Shug the things that are really on her mind.

Sabrina said...

The next 100 pages of “The Color Purple” that I read involve Shug and Celie’s relationship a lot more. The story unfolds Celie’s strong desire to be independent. When Celie finds out that her sister Nettie is alive and has been sending her letters all along which her husband Albert hid from her, she is so enraged that she realizes she must stand up for herself. Celie and Shug team up to get all of the letters from Nettie to Celie for reading. At this point, Celie is less interested in a sexual relationship with Shug, and more of a friendship. Celie leaves her husband, Albert, when Shug and her husband Grady decide to move north. They also announce that Mary Agnes will join them. Through these 100 pages, many letters are being sent from Nettie. The letters include everything that she has been through on her missionary trip to Africa with Samuel and most importantly, Celie’s children Olivia and Adam. Celie is shocked at first that her sister is even alive, and then finds out that her sister is caring for Adam and Olivia. All at once a change in Celie’s life is shown. Her independence is gained. Celie breaks away from the orders of her husband, and the life that he has locked her out of. Not only did he lock away the letters from Nettie, but he locked her out of what she deserves. Albert expected Celie to take care of him and his children, but Celie has her own children to find. I think that the turning point of the story is when Celie leaves Albert with Shug, Grady, and Mary.
On page 199 Shug and Celie are talking about God, how Celie does not believe in him anymore.
“What God do for me? I ast. / She say, Celie! Like she shock. He gave you life, good health, and a good woman that love you to death. / Yeah, I say, and he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, a lowdown dog of a step pa and a sister I probably won’t ever see again. Anyhow, I say, the God I been praying and writing to is a man. And act just like all the other mens I know. Trifling, forgitful, and lowdown. / She say, Miss Celie, You better hush. God might hear you.”
This quote reveals a tremendous amount about Celie’s character. Her whole life, Celie has had no luck with men. Between her father raping her, him saying she was not good enough for anyone, the way that Albert treats her, getting her children given away by her father, and all of the other abuse that she receives from men, Celie has no confidence in God treating her right. All of this time, Celie has been writing letters to God, but now she changes to writing to Nettie. She tells Shug that God has never helped her, all he has done is given her a corrupt family, and horrible men. This reveals to the reader why Celie is attracted to Shug. She not only likes that Shug is a female, but she is independent and is not bossed around by men. Shug sticks up for herself. This is something that Celie admires and aspire to be. After the conversation about God, Celie still writes to Nettie, but she is only trying to “chase the white man out of her head.”
This book reminds me of “The Awakening” at this part. This is because Edna in The Awakening wants to leave her husband to find independence and freedom, like Celie is about Albert. Edna also reads letters from Robert, and Celie reads letters from Nettie. I often see the theme of women’s independence and discrimination in these books.

Sabrina said...

“The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker ends happily. The last one hundred pages that I read involved a reunion, a gain of independence, stable relationships, and happiness. When Celie leaves Albert, she beings making pants for people, and soon enough she makes a business out of it because of her success. Celie finds out that Albert went into depression after she left, and when they see each other, he tries making shirts to match her pants. Although Celie is no longer interested in her husband, she enjoys his company while Shug is gone. Shug, deciding she wants one last fling with a young boy before she devotes her life to Celie, goes off to Arizona with a young man. During this time, Celie spends time with Albert. The two speak of how much they love Shug. When Albert buts in to mention that he and Celie are still married, Celie says they were never married. Moving away from her bitterness, Celie speaks to Albert about Nettie’s mission and all of the letters she has been sending. It is important to see the relationship that Celie and Albert share in the end of the book. This is because Albert no long can boss her around; now that Celie has stood up for herself and gained independence, she is content with their relationship. On the contrary, Albert now respects her and listens to what she has to say. At one point, Celie is informed that her sister’s ship has sunk; devastated, she wonders if she can make it without Shug. When Shug finds out, she does everything in her power to find out the details. In the end of the book, people show up in a car; Nettie, Samuel, Olivia, Adam, and Tashi show up. At this point of reunion, Celie feels that she could die and be happy. Soon before this happens, Shug writes to her saying that she will join her to Georgia. In the conclusion of the book, the last letter is written to God, the stars, the trees, the sky, peoples, and everything; showing her excitement about the arrival of her family and Shug. While everyone was gone, Celie had prepared a purple room for Shug. The ending of “The Color Purple” is very fairytale-ish.

After reading the end of “The Color Purple,” I think one of the most important parts is the last entry that Celie writes. (pg 292)
“Dear God. Dear Stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear Everything. Dear God.”
This quote reveals the happiness in Celie’s life. Before, Celie only wrote to God, but then she found that like other men, God was not listening. So, Celie began writing to Nettie, her sister, but even this did not prove her complete happiness. By Celie directing the last letter to everything, it shows her faith in life. Celie is counting on the stars and trees, along with the sky and everything to thank them for what she has been given. “Thank you for bringing my sister Nettie and our children home.” Here, she thanks all of these things for something that the trees and sky could not have done. She only writes to them to show her utter excitement and gratitude toward life.

Sabrina said...

Another quote that stuck out while reading is on page 214. “Then I feel Shug shake me. Celie, she say. And I come to myself. / I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here. / Amen, say Shug. Amen, amen.”
Here, Celie is repeating the insult that Albert gave her as she left him. Celie realizes that the insults may be true, but she sticks up for herself and says “I’m here.” Albert tried to lock Celie out of her own life, but her inspiration of Shug’s independence woke her up from the nightmare she was living, in fear of men. Celie gains her self-respect here by realizing her faults and accepting them. From the beginning of the book to the end, Celie transforms from a character who has no control over herself, her body, or her life, to a woman who stands up for herself, leaves her husband, and fends for herself.
The end of “The Color Purple” reminds me of “The Awakening.” Like Edna was saved by Robert, Celie was saved by Shug. Celie ends up being the person she wants to be, and being surrounded by people she truly loves. Although she has to go through an obstacle to get to where she is, like Edna had to leave her family, the two characters end up happy.

Megan Keegan said...

Megan K.
In the second section of “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, Celie and Shug’s relationship becomes moe pronounced. Celie discovers that her husband has been hiding letters her sister Nettie was trying to send to her for years when Celie thought that she was dead and she is beside herself. This is the moment that she realizes that everything in her life is scrambled and she is the only one that can do anything about it. Shug continues to sleep with Albert so that she can steal the letters for Celie so that she can know exactly what became of her sister. Here in the book it becomes evident that Celie’s relationship with Shug is not sexual desire anymore but she loves her for what she can do and the power that she has. Celie uses this newfound power to finally leave her husband and move with Shug and her husband somewhere new. Since Celie now has contact with Nettie, she keeps in touch through her transition, learning about Nettie’s life along the way. She learns how Nettie is traveling with Samuel and Celie’s two children that she was forced to give up. Learning about her sister’s glory and travels Celie decides that it is not worth her time to stay stuck in her life that she is not happy in. It pleases her sister has taken her two children under her wing which were their father’s children as well. This is a moment when she learns what she needs to do and gains her independence in her life. Leaving her husband who does not treat her right was a big step for her and she decides to go out on her own and live her life the way that she wants to live it.
“You ast yourself one question, it lead to fifteen. I start to wonder why us need love. Why us suffer. Why us black. Why us men and women. Where do children really come from. It didn’t take long to realize I didn’t hardly know nothing. And that if you ast yourself why you black or a man or a woman or a bush it don’t mean nothing if you don’t ast why you here, period.” This is a quote from page 203 of the text and was said by Celie. It reveals a lot about her character and her feelings about the world. Celie is saying a lot about her life when she said “I start to wonder why us need love. Why us suffer.” In her life there is no love and only suffering until Shug enters her life and Nettie comes back. The quote explains a lot about her way of thinking and how sad her life really is. I feel sympathy for her that she has to ask such simple but heartbreaking questions in order to try to understand her life. She has always only been abused, first starting with her father and then moving on to her husband Albert. Her life is a constant flow of abuse and no love until she finds people that can truly care about her and feel for her. In the last line of the quote, she compares blacks, men, woman, and bushes which is an almost sad comparison that she feels the need to compare humans to something as unanimated as a bush in order to get her point across. In a way though this was a brilliant comparison written by Walker because it brings to life Celie’s struggle.
This book reminds me a lot of Jane Eyre with the struggles that both the female protagonists face. Jane was always dealing with opposite problems however because she knew that Rochester did love her and Celie never feels love from anyone. However, the fact that Jane has moments of doubt and feels insecure she can be related to Celie quite easily.

Megan Keegan said...

Megan K.
It was very much a relief to learn that “The Color Purple” ended on a much happier note than it began. Celie finally finds her calling and begins to become a seamstress, making pants for people which eventually turn into a small business for her to make money from. Everything goes well until she finds out that Albert is very depressed and struggling. They have a short meeting and after he learns she is making pants he begins to try to make shirts for people so they can have a business together. Since Shug is gone at this point, she enjoys having a companion and lets him stay around. Celie and Albert spend a lot of time together while Celie is waiting for Shug to return back to her and they talk about how much they both love Shug. Their friendship shows a lot of courage on Celie’s part that she can be so strong around him after the way that he has treated her in the past. The conversations that they have make Albert respect the person that she has become and they are able to move past a lot of things that have gone wrong with them before. Celie even brings up the letters and how he kept them from her and he listens to her when she tells him exactly what they said and what Nettie is doing. After this, Celie discovers that Nettie’s ship has sunken off the coast of her travels and Celie once again turns to Shug who is not there to comfort her. Not long after this, a car comes to visit Celie and out of it come Nettie, her husband and Celie’s two children. The reunion is loving and warm and Celie feels as though her life is complete. The very last letter written in the book is from Celie to everything around her, including God. This shows that she is fulfilled and happy.

Hayden said...

I think this book definitely deserves to be on Oprah's book list. It's empowering, touching and truly a great work of literature. With it's transition of a powerless slave wife to a strong independent black woman it shows strength and determination can bring happiness.

Brianna made a very good point in the letters to God. It definitely added to the book's feelings of hopelessness towards the beginning of the book. When that header disappeared you knew that it was truly coming to the point where hope was being restored along with her relationship to her sister.

My last words for this book: "Dear Oprah,
Good Choice in making this a musical too."