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The Color Purple - Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Alice Walker

Date Started: 15/6/17

Date Finished 13/9/17

Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Then amount of time it took me to read this is no reflection on the book itself.

I have always been aware of The Color Purple and had a desire to read it but only fulfilled this desire recently.

It is definitely an iconic and inspiration story.

It is written like a diary in the form of letters, some letters written by Nettie, some by Celie, some to each other and some to God, I found that although there were spellings we would consider mistakes in today's day and age it only added to the authenticity and realness of the story.

Key Themes

Forced Marriage

Celie sacrifices herself for Nettie and marries Mr - despite having no romantic attraction towards him.

It's very powerful that she is willing to do so and the way in which Celie honours being his wife despite her personal dislike towards him through the majority of the story.

"He your husband, I say. Got stay with them"

Celie is only willing to leave after he commits the ultimate betrayal by hiding Netties letters from her.


I found this to be the most powerful theme in the story. Both the way in which outsiders accept abuse of women and the way in which men see it as a right of passage.

"Nothing can do better than a good sound beating"

This is the advice passed down from Mr- to his son Harpo, the way to turn Sofa in to a proper lady.

It's hard to read as Celie is beaten regularly and although she doesn't enjoy it, it's all she has ever known.

Shug Avery seems to enter the story to challenge notions like the ones expressed in the first half of the story, she believes women should marry for love not because they are forced to, she does not beleive women are there to be beaten and does not agree with husbands controlling their wives or keeping secrets from them. Through Shug Celie finds herself, becomes able to express her anger and dismay at being married to Mr -, to confide in someone and to work towards a life she is proud of. Shug is symbolic of a woman's right to want more and how achieve more.


Celie is often writing to God, Celies faith is clearly very important to her and where she draws strength from. However the letters to God become less frequent once she is able to write about Shrug and to Nettie.

It is almost as though Celie has only chosen to write to God when she has no one else to reach out to.

Overall this is not a happy books, but is an important one.

It lends many messages to the reader, how passive acceptance can lead to a culture of abuse and how one person saying this is not acceptable can change a victims life.

It is a feminist message that women are more than wives and to not have to be at the mercy of their husbands, Celie starts with nothing but becomes a powerful, loving and strong women who helps to look after the rest of Mr-'s family, who travels with Shug to see more of the world than she imagined and sets up her own clothing business.

It shows us how a victim can learn to love again, Shug helps to heal the hurt Celie has felt through the abuse she has suffered and teachers Celie how to love again.

I think this book should be taught in schools, I think that everyone should read it because it is powerful and immersive.

The problem I am having in trying to write a review for it is merely that as I read it, I was in Celies world and I felt many emotions but I can't really find the words to justify it now, I think it's one of those few rare, precious novels that the reader experiences in the emotions and thoughts they have whilst reading it but that the impact is has is very personal and unique to each individual.

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