Creativity in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

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Expressing Creativity in The Color Purple

In Alice Walker's The Color Purple, many characters at some point find a way of expressing their artistic creativity. For instance, Celie makes pants, and Shug Avery and Mary Agnes sing. But what is the significance of expressing creativity? If there is a relationship between artistic expression and one's personal development, what exactly is this relationship? I wish to answer these questions by examining Celie's case in particular.

The key to the first question lies in the comment Albert makes on life while sewing with Celie on the porch, "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" (289-290). It is
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They were Creators, who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality—which is the basis of Art—that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane. Throwing away this spirituality was their pathetic attempt to lighten the soul to a weight their work-worn, sexually abused bodies could bear (Gardens 233).

Celie is one of these women tortured by her own "spring of creativity". She has certainly suffered physically from a very early age, being sexually abused by her stepfather and physically (and sexually) abused by her husband. And yet even at this stage of her life, there are hints of her possession of creative powers. For instance, she communicates to God in her own unique way: writing letters to Him. Also, her imagination is manifested when she dreams of Shug Avery after she has seen Shug’s picture. To have such imagination despite all the hardships she suffers is a sign of her "rich spirituality".

At this point, Celie has not yet discovered her artistic spirit. She is a girl who bears all sufferings quietly and stubbornly, like a tree, in order to protect herself. She has no confidence, and believes she is as ugly as everyone else says she is. She feels trapped and unhappy in her condition, but does not know how to fight. In other words, she accepts the unequal relationship between man and woman, father and daughter, and husband and wife as the way things have to be.


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