Essay about The Color Purple

1359 Words 6 Pages
The Results of Celie’s Physical and Mental Abuse

     In 1982 Alice Walker titled her Pulitzer Prize Winning novel, The Color Purple, which is symbolically meant to reflect radiance and majesty (Columbia). It is a story, entirely conveyed through letters, of one young black girl’s struggle to escape the brutal and degrading treatment by men, which had become a constant part of her life. Instead of focusing on race throughout the novel Walker accords “greater importance to power, the power to be, to concretize one’s self, as to mold others” (Dieke 102). This completely unbalanced power ultimately leaves Celie feeling alone and controlled, which affects her relationships with men and influences her relationship
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“Celie is the ultimate object, someone who exists to satisfy his despotic whims and whose fate is determined by her very essence” (Dieke 103). Celie lives day-by-day obeying Mr. _____’s orders and hoping to please him, so she is not physically injured.
     Constantly undergoing both physical and mental abuse began to weaken Celie’s self-perception and personality. “You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam you nothing at all” (Walker 176). Being mistreated at the young age of fourteen by Mr. _____, a male figure, drove Celie into the arms of a woman. Having grown up with no stability and no visible figure of love Celie was justifiably confused about her own sexual preferences and affection. Although she had not yet met her, Celie fell in love with her first glimpse of Shug Avery’s picture. Many literary critics agree that the color purple represents the “emblematic color of lesbianism” (Gates 20). Celie looked up to Shug, and admired her for being an independent woman who stood completely on her own. Shug was in control of her relationship with Mr. _____ in a parallel manner to the way Mr. _____ was in complete control of his relationship with Celie. Unhappy with her current unfulfilling lifestyle Celie looked to Shug for advice, for a change. Celie’s confused willingness to explore, and Shug Avery’s bisexuality provided Celie with necessary emotional support, which led to her personal evolution. Celie relates these feelings and this

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