The Color Purple

Color Itself: Race, Selfhood, and Symbolism in Walker's 'The Color Purple'. 12th Grade

The theme of color is very broad, and reaches strands out to many different emotions and feeling of Alice Walker's The Color Purple such as sadness, desire and hope. Color also is central to the society that the novel is set in – the color of your skin defines who you are. However, Walker uses the women in her vibrant novel to chart a positive outcome for young black women, making a bold statement that a woman could overcome the hurdle of color.

Our first introduction to color is through Celie; it appears that she has a complex with her identity of being a black woman, and she doesn't portray herself in an attractive light at all in the first part of the novel. This is shown through her use of her almost derogatory descriptions of her own skin color such as "I'm roasted coffee bean colour now", the use of the verb "roasted" could be seen as having negative connotations of being damaged or burnt. Furthermore, this could be interpreted as the way she sees herself as being damaged as a cause of her race, because if we look at the treatment of black people when slavery was still practised, they were treated like inanimate objects and not like human beings, and they were whipped, women were raped and often burnt. Therefore we could...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1055 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8289 literature essays, 2287 sample college application essays, 359 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in