Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

The Color People

The Color People
Rape, incest, sex , forced labor, and a
little reefer on the side. These are all of the components of a Novel by
Alice Walker. All of these views are illustrated proficiently in Alice
Walkers third novel, The Color Purple. Each one of these aspects had a
lasting impression upon the ideals and notions of the time. Walker’s writing’s
helped to break the racial barrier that existed in some people’s minds.

One way that the barrier was destroyed
was through Walker’s depiction of an imperfect black person. If a white
person wrote about a less than perfect black person than it was considered
racist. Now that a black person is writing about other blacks that are
foretaking in acts that are, in their eye’s, immoral and corrupt, the subject
is brought into a new light. These actions are discussed out in the open,
and the idea that all people have their own “flaws”, is thought to be more
fisable. Walker combines all of these issues in her story in a deceptive

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

They all are linked together by way of
a semi-believable story line with one major overlaying theme. Prescott
sums it up nicely, “Love redeems, meanness kills”(p74). This is illustrated
in many ways in Walker’s novel. One perfect example of this is Mr. _____.

Mr. _____, as he is called throughout the novel, was a wife beater, who,
having been denied Celie’s sister, marries Celie to look after his children.

He beats her and rapes her and is just plain nasty to her. Finally, one
day, after Celie discovers another mean thing that Mr. ____ did to her,
she leaves with her girlfriend to start a new life. Mr. _____ is left all
alone. He starts to fall apart. He becomes afraid of the dark, and just
gives up on life. That was his meanness that started to destroy his life.

Now, just as Mr. ____ is nearing death, his son Harpo, starts to take care
of him. Mr.___ starts to love him again. Now Mr.____’s life takes a towards
revival. He becomes a new man. Once he starts to love his life starts to
look up again. His and his son’s love redeemed him.

“The more I wonder, he say, the more I

And people start to love you back, I bet,
I say.

They do, he say, surprise. Harpo seem
to love me.”
(Walker, pg. 290)
Walker’s novel is very unique in regards
to style. Her use of black idiom is very effective and adds the extra fragment
of actuality and authenticity to the story line. “Walker’s use of language,
especially Black idiom, is masterful and adds poignancy and depth to the
narrative.” (Another characteristic of Walker is the inclusion of highly
controversial and unique circumstances in her novel. For example, many
authors of the time, black or white, would address the idea of either inter-racial
or same-sex relations. Walker was an active feminist and her voice and
opinions show through in many of her novels. The Color Purple includes
many dynamic characters throughout.

Mr._____ is a good example of one such
character. In the beginning of the novel he is a mean, strange old man
who only marries Celie because he needs somebody to look after his kids.

Mr.______ is really in love with her sister, but their father decides that
her sister Nettie is too young for marriage so he settles for Celie. This
shows how unfeeling Mr.____ is in the first portion of the novel. He beats
his wife and overworks her and rapes her and abuses her. He is an all around
bad guy. “First he put this thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it
around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my
pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying you better shut
up and git used to it.” (Walker, pg. 1,2) However, Mr.____ comes upon a
big change in his life when Celie finally leaves him. Mr.____ is left all
by himself and forced to survive and maintain himself on his own. Here
is where he runs into some problems. Here is where the big change takes
place. Mr.____ changes his evil ways and begins to show some compassion
and love. The end of the novel depicts a markedly different Mr.____ then
the beginning of the novel portrays. In the end of the novel Mr.____ and
Celie actually have a civilized conversation and begin to see face to face.

They become friends and often visit each other’s homes and chat on the
porch while sewing. “Mr.____ look at me real thoughtful. He not such a
bad looking man you know, when you come right down to it. And now it do
begin to look like he got a lot of feeling hind his face.” (Walker, pg.

280) Mr.____ is not the only character that changes during the course of
this novel, Celie also takes a drastic turn in her realm of thinking.

Celie starts out in the beginning of the
novel as the “slave” to her father. First allowing herself to be raped
and bearing his children and taking his abuse. Then on to the abuse that
her “husband”, Mr.____ shows towards her. Celie takes all of this treatment
in stride, this is the only life that she has known. She thinks that since
she is only a woman this is the way that she is supposed to be treated.

Then, all of the sudden a certain event causes her to dramatically change
her course of thinking. This change is caused by the influence of a character
that is new to the book. This character gives Celie the love and the respect
that she always lacked. Celie was given the sense of being, a sense that
she was a real person. A person with feelings, with a heart and a soul.

A person that could love and be loved. This person gave her all of these
feelings as well as a fresh new start and a new outlook on life. “For Walker,
redemptive love requires female bonding.” (Prescott) This person became
her lover. This person was Shug Avery.

Shug Avery was an old lover of Celie’s
husband, Mr.____. She had been brought back to Mr.____’s house because
she was sick and Celie was to look after her. Shug was also a different
person in the introduction of her character. She was a snobbish, high class
brat. The Stereotypical rich, spoiled woman. At first she treated Celie
and Mr.____ as if they were nothing but her hired help. Then she began
to take a liking to Celie. At first they talked and sewed together. Then
there relationship moved to the next level. Shug is the one who gave Celie
her new outlook on life. She began to treat Celie as a real person should
be treated. She offered her love and warmth and gave her a reason to be.

She single handedly turned Celie’s life around for the better. Shug knew
of all of the opportunities that existed out in the world, she had seen
a lot of it because she was a singer that toured around a lot. She told
Celie of these prospects and began to start Celie thinking of leaving Mr.____
in search of a better life. The final straw that led to convincing Celie
to leave was the horrifying act that Mr.____ had been withholding letters
to Celie from her sister Nettie.

Nettie was the luckier of the two sisters.

She had met the people that had adopted Celie’s children, befriended them
and traveled to Africa with them. Once there she lived among the Olinka
tribe. All the time that she was in Africa she wrote letters to Celie.

She never got any reply but she never gave up hope. Celie really admired
Nettie, and she was a powerful influence upon her life even though she
wasn’t present. “How I’m gon keep from killing him, I say. Don’t kill,
she say. Nettie becoming home before long. Don’t make her have to look
at you like us look at Sofia.” (Walker, pg.150) Nettie always had the insight
that Celie lacked. She knew right away that Mr.____ was abusing her. She
even wrote to Celie and told her “You’ve got to fight and get away from
Albert. He ain’t no good.” (Walker, pg. 131) The two sisters longed for
each other the entire time that they were separated. When they finally
were reunited they were so happy that neither of them could say a word.

They just stood there and hugged and hugged and emersed themselves in the
love that they felt for each other.

This is how the novel ends. It ends on
a happy note. All of the abuse and all of the bad, unforgivable incidents,
are forgiven. Everyone is happy and together. The theme of “Love redeems”
is fulfilled. Everybody is redeemed from there love of another person.

The story line is very well wrapped up and there is a fulfilling finish
to an entertaining novel. Everyone enjoys a story where there is an ending
to the likes of ; they all lived happily ever after, this is that story.

Now wouldn’t you just like to read it for yourself?
Works Cited
Abbandonato, Linda. A View from ‘Elsewhere:’
Subversive Sexuality and the Rewriting of the Heroine’s Story in The Color
Purple. PMLA, Oct. 1991 v106 n5 p1106 (10).

Bartelme, Elizabeth. Victory over Bitterness.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jean C. Steve. Detroit: Gale Research
Company, 1984.

Bloxham, Laura J. Contemporary Fiction
Writers of the South. Ed. James M. Flora and Robert Bain. London: Greenwood
Press, 1993.

Current Biographical Yearbook. (1984) Current
Biographical Yearbook 1984: Walker, Alice. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company.

pg. 430 – 433.

Hite, Molly. The Other Side of the Story:
Structures and Strategies of Contemporary Feminist Narrative. Ithaca and
London: Cornell UP, 1989.

Kranz, Rachel. The Biographical Dictionary
of Black Americans. Facts on File, New York, (1992). pg. 155 – 156 Library
Journal. June 1, 1982.

Magill, Frank N. Critical Survey of Long
Fiction. Anglewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1983.

Prescott, Peter S. A long road to liberation.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jean C. Steve. Detroit: Gale Research
Company, 1984.

Ross, Daniel W. Celie in the looking glass:
the desire for selfhood in The Color Purple. Modern Fiction Studies, Spring
1988 v34 nl p69 (16).

Walker, Alice. (1982). The Color Purple.

California: Pocket Books
Watkins, Mel. Some letters went to God.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1984.

Whitaker, Charles. Alice Walker: Color
Purple author confronts her critics and talks about her provocative new
book (Interview). Ebony. May 1992. v47 n7 p86 (4).


I'm Belinda!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out