The Color Purple
Sewing for Freedom 12th Grade
Sewing is often viewed as a proper pastime for married women to engage in, even if it can often be laborious to do for hours on end. Yet, the women in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple managed to turn this monotonous activity into something profitable. Celie begins to use sewing as a way to bond with the other women who come into her life and, eventually, as a way to make herself economically secure without the help of a husband. In this way, the prominence of sewing in The Color Purple is used to symbolize the means through which the women formed a sisterhood and gained independence from the men that were dominating their lives.
One of the first positive interactions between Celie and Sofia is facilitated through the act of making a quilt together. Celie had previously told Harpo that he should beat Sofia because Celie was jealous of Sofia’s strength and assertiveness. When Sofia approaches Celie about her actions, she suggests that they “make quilt pieces out of… messed-up curtains” as a way to start with a clean slate (42). Seeing Sofia and Celie sew together prompts Shug join in, and soon after, the three women are making a quilt together with a pattern that Celie calls Sister’s Choice, a name which represents the sisterhood...
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