The Color Purple



Alice Walker highlights the power of communication through the characters' letter writing form.[7] The letters that Celie writes to God, and later to her sister Nettie, symbolize a certain voice that only Celie has, and through which she is able to express her true desires in her letters. These letters are very personal to her, and allow her to display any emotion she wants to convey. In the beginning, when she was writing letters only to God, the letters were very private and Celie would not have wanted anyone to see them. The letters are the only way she can represent her true feelings and despair as she is abused. Later, the letters she gets from Nettie give her hope that she will be reunited with her sister again.

Celie writes to God for a lack of someone else to write to. She writes to her sister because she is angry at God because of her past and the people who have been hurt because of it. She asks God "Why?" which is a question that cannot be answered. The last letter she writes is to everyone, including God showing that she has forgiven Him, and that her story has gone through a full circle of maturation.

Womens' rights

Alice Walker shows her affection toward the equality of women, specifically African American women, in The Color Purple in many different ways. Towards the beginning of the book we see Celie married off to the man that Nettie loved. Her husband was referred to as "Mr._______", without any real surname given. Celie was abused throughout her life with Mr._______ and was made to endure that pain without question. As a woman writing letters to her sister, the lack of a surname given to her husband could represent a lack of respect she had for him, in regards to how he treated her. Surnames give meaning to life and meaning to who they are, and by refusing to give her husband that luxury we see her asserting what little dominance she has over him. Charles Hegler wrote an article, "Named and Nameless: Alice Walker's Pattern of Surnames in The Color Purple", which gives the interpretation that Celie was trying to gain any foothold over her husband, because she wanted to have some dominance over him.[8] On the other hand, she could simply be omitting his name out of respect in case those who read her letters knew who she was talking about. She may have been giving him the benefit of the doubt and wanted to keep his name out of it. As we see later in the book she does give her husband a name, although it is only a first name. That seems to be a turning point for their relationship and the connection between characters and their names becomes critical and apparent.

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