The Color Purple is the story of how one of those American heroes came to recognize herself recovering her identity and rescuing her life in spite of the disfiguring effects of a particularly dreadful and personal sort of oppression. The novel focuses on Celie, a woman lashed by waves of deep trouble—abandonment, incest, physical and emotional abuse—and tracks her triumphant journey to self-discovery, womanhood, and independence. Celie's story is a pointed indictment of the men in her life—men who betrayed and abused her, worked her like a mule and suppressed her independence—but it is also a moving portralt of the psychic bonds that exist between women and the indestructible nature of the human spirit.
The story of Celie is told through letters: Celie's letters to God and her sister Nettie, who is in Africa, and Nettie's letters to Celie. Celie's letters are a poignant attempt to understand her own out-of-control life. Her difficulties begin when, at the age of fourteen, she is raped by her stepfather, who then apparently sells away the two children born of that rape. Her sister Nettie runs away to escape the abuse, but Celie is married off to Albert, an older man that she refers to simply as "Mr." for most of the novel. He subjects her to tough work on his farm and beats her at his whim. But Celie finds the path to redemption in two key female role models: Sophia, an independent woman who refuses to be taken advantage of by her husband or any man, and Shug, a sassy, independent singer whom Albert loves. It is Shug who first offers Celie love, friendship, and a radically new way of looking at life.
Original title: The Color Purple
Genre: Fiction→ Gay & Lesbian→ Lesbian
Fiction→ General Fiction→ Black (african-american)