The Color Purple
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​ By: Alice Walker

Alice walker
---The famous walker born February 9, 1944 at home under the sign Aquarius grew to be a poet, short story writer, teacher anthologist, editor, publisher, womanist, essayist, novelist, and activist. Born in the town Ward Chapel, she was the last child of eight children by her parents Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah grant Walker. Growing up in the years following the Great Depression, they were poor but rich in kindness. Alice walker was talented in painting and music along with her writing. At the age of eight in 1952, Walker had a shaping experience. While playing cowboys and Indians with her older brothers Curtis and Bobby, Curtis accidentally shot Alice in the eye with a BB gun. Her brothers concocted a fiction to avoid getting into trouble and pressured Alice to accept it. It resulted in loss of sight in her right eye. Years later after the incident, at the age of fourteen her older brother William gave her the encouragement to undergo eye surgery. She went to the East Putnam Consolidated school for primary and middle school. Butler-Baker High, the only school open to blacks is where she graduated in 1961 as valedictorian. Alice walker attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1961. In 964 she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College. Here is where she committed her time to being a writer. She later accepted a position with the New York City Department of Welfare after graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1965. The next year she moved to Jackson, Mississippi with a $2,000 travel grant from a man named Charles Merrill a philanthropist. There se worked for the legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of colored People. She took deposition from blacks who had been evicted from there home for trying to register to vote. In 1967 walked married Melvyn Leventhal a Jewish civil rights lawyer. They had there first girl November, 17, 1969 and named her Rebecca Grant. Alice published her first work of fiction, “To Hell with Dying”, when she was just twenty three years old. Alice Walker was the first African American woman writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize award for Fiction in 1983. In 1968 she was named writer-in-residence at Mississippi’s Jackson State University. She accepted the appointment of writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College two years later. In 2007 The Color Purple, a classic of American literature celebrated its 25th anniversary. The award winning novel was an inspiration for Steve Spielberg’s 1985 film. Her books have sold over ten million copies and were translated in to two dozen languages. Along with the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award her awards and fellowships include the Guggenheim Fellowship and a residency at Yaddo. In 2006 she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Some of her other awards include the National Book Award and the 1986 O. Henry Award for “Kindred Spirits” a short story. N 1997 she was honored by the American Humanist Association as humanist of the Year. Some of her work include The Color Purple, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart, Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems, a poetry collection, Good Night, Willie Lee, Horses Make a landscape Look More Beautiful, and " Looking for Zora."

The Color Purple-SUMMARY
  • Celie:She is the narrator and the main character of the story. Her stepfather marries her off to a guy named Albert but she calls him Mr.. Her whole life she is submissive to the abusive men.
  • Nettie: Nettie is Celie's younger sister. She llives with Samuel and his family who she then travel with to Africa on a mission trip. She is the attractive one out of her and her sister.
  • Alphonso: He is the abusive stepfather of Celie and Nettie.he raped Celie and had 2 children who he took and gave away.
  • Mr._:Celie's Husband. He doesn't love Celie, but has an on-going affair with Shug Avery. Mr. is very abusive.
  • Shug Avery: Shug Avery is considered teh hero of the story who is a lover of Celie. She teaches Celie how to be her own person and stick up for herself.
  • Grady:Grady is the husband of Shug but is really in love with Squeak.
  • Mary Agnes(squeak):She is the girlfriend of Harpo and then later Grady.
  • Harpo:Harpo is a son of Mr._ and the Sofia's husband. He confused because he tries to copy his fathers abusive ways but Sofia lets him know that force will not work.
  • Sofia:She is Harpo's wife. Sofia. She serves as an example to Celie of independant womanhood.
  • Olivia: The daughter of Celie who grows up as an adopted child of Samuel and Corrine.
  • Adam: Adam is the Son of Celie who grows up as the adopted child of Samuel and Corrine.
  • Tashi:She is the African native who marries Adam and then goes with him to America.
  • Corrine:She is the wife of Samuel who ends up dying in Africa.
  • Samuel:he is the adopted father of Celie's children. She was married to Corrine but then marries Nettie after Corrine's death. he is a black minister.
The story starts with Celie at the age of 14 writing a letter to god. She is a scared poor African girl living in the south. After her mother numerous pregnancies, she becomes sick. Alphonso the man she believes is her father but really is not sexually abuses her. He then fathers 2 children with Celie. During her second birth her mother dies. Now she is left not knowing weather her children are alive or dead because her known to be father takes them away after birth. Celie becomes responsible for taking care of the house and her siblings. One day a guy comes and asks to marry Nettie but her father refuses and tells him to marry Celie. The suitor finally decides to marry her after al of spring goes by. She then learns to call him Mr.. After Celie leaves Nettie then becomes the sexual object of there father’s desires who they call Pa. this soon causes Nettie to leave and she moves in with Celie and Mr._. There she refuses Mr.’s sexual advance which forces her to leave. Celie is promised by Nettie before she left that she will write her, but Celie never received any letters from Nettie. Later on in the story Celie the narrator starts to write her letters to Nettie instead of god and in the letter she explains the sexual and emotional abuse that goes on in Mr.’s household. When Harpo a son of her husband brings home his soon to be wife, Celie is for the first time exposed a strong proud woman. Sofia is an outspoken woman and refuses to conform to the stereotypical model of an obedient wife. Sofia then leaves after Harpo repeatedly beats her. Later on in the story she is arrested for assaulting the mayor who is white. One day Mr.’s mistress Shug Avery moves in to recover from an illness. She is another strong-willed woman. Shug is a sexy spirited blues singer and Celie is obsessively attracted to her. She slowly begins to heal Celie as a mother then as a lover. Celie begin to develop new found feelings of self-worth and begins to feel loved. One day Shug brings a letter from the mail to Celie postmarked from Africa. At this point Celie find out that Nettie has been sending her letters for years and Mr. has been hiding them. She searches the house and recovers all of Nettie’s letters. After reading the letters in chronological order she learns that Samuel and Corinne a missionary couple in town took Nettie in, and they have adopted 2 children who are Celie’s two lost children that Mr. took away after birth. The letters also tell her that the man she known as her Pa is really her stepfather. Celie almost kills Mr. in a rage over the stolen letters but is stopped but Shug. Celie takes up sewing pants as a creative outlet. Then one day she leaves Mr. who she now calls him by Albert to travel to Memphis with Shug. Celie inherits her child home after her known to be Pa dies which also includes a dry goods store. Later she returns to her hometown and sets up a shop selling Folks pants a line of pants of her own creation. Albert eventually returns to Celie as a changed man who now respects her, and the 2 work side by side. The novel end with Celie being reunited with her sister Nettie and her own lost children, and introduces Albert and Shug as her family.
:The Color Purple is Walker’s most successful and critically acclaimed work. The novel depicts the harsh life of a young African-American woman in the south in the early twentieth century. The Color Purple explores the individual identity of the African-American woman and how embracing that identity and bonding with other woman affects the health of her community at large. Although the novel has some reviewers have taken issue with the portrayal of black men, The Color Purple has largely been celebrated by critics. Many viewers say that the portrayal of black men is negative and unnecessary. Some critics have found fault with the characterizations in general, opposing her tendency to refer to characters only with pronouns, thereby encouraging readers to consider the characters exemplary of anyone whom that pronoun could apply. Truider Harris questions the morality of the novel. “What kind of morality is it that spouses that al human degradation is justified if the individual somehow survives all the tortures and ugliness heaped upon her?” Harris also criticizes the part dealing with Nettie and Africa. Harris feels they “were really extraneous to the central concerns of the knowledge than for the good of the work.” The relationship between Shug and Celie Harris believes was silly. She accuses the author of preparing a “political shopping list of all IOUs Walker felt it was time to repay.” Although Harris has a lot of sharp criticism she does confess that she is in a love/hate relationship with the novel. Robert Towers believes Alice walker still has a lot to learn about plotting and structuring what is clearly intended to be a realistic novel. He also believes the extended account of Nettie’s experience in Africa, to which she has gone with a black missionary couple and there 2 adopted children, is meant to be a counter weight but to Celie’s story but it lacks authenticity. “She has failed to endow Nettie with her own distinctive voice. Robert Tower say “the failure to find an interesting idiom for a major figure like Nettie is especially damaging in an epistolary novel.” Although many critics have negatively criticized The Color Purple, many had positive feedback about it. The most positive reviewers of the book was Richard Wesley. Wesley says “as an African-American male, I found little that was offensive as far as the images of black men.” He sees the character of Albert emblematic. Instead f criticizing the book Wesley criticized those who fault the novel for painting a negative image of black males. “Walker is airing dirty linen in public. She is reminding many of us men of our own failures. She is reminding women of their failures as well. A lot of people do not want to hear that.” Gloria Steinem finds much to praise in The Color Purple. “she speaks the female experience more powerfully for being able to pursue it across boundaries of race and class.” Steinem finds the storytelling style of Alice Walker “irresistible to read.” “The Color Purple is an American novel of permanent importance” says peter s. Prescott. Prescott say The Color Purple’s principal theme is, “love redeems, meanness kills." Mel Watkins who I agree with says "Alice walker's latest Novel is the most impressive."
---The Color Purple is not a type of book that I would read but I am happy to say that this book is so good and addictive that it was able to draw in a person like me who would never read a book with a story line like this and only read a specific type of book. I do agree that the book is very impressive and for a book reader like to say that about this type of book account of I don't read books in this nature means something/a lot. Although the broken English was something that interested me and helped to me want to read the book more it still was a negative to me because I was tough to speak proper english and the old speaking ways of the south was almost to hard for me to understand in some points of the book. Overall the book was very interesting and once you start reading it you can't put it down until your done.

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The Color Purple

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Book Rags

1."Alice Walker Criticism." ENotes - Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More. Web. 19 May 2010. <>.

2."The Color Purple (Critical Overview): Information from" Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Web. 19 May 2010. <>.

3."Walker." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 27. 449-51. Print.