Language in Color Purple

Topics: The Color Purple, Epistolary novel, Alice Walker Pages: 3 (995 words) Published: December 3, 2012
How does Walker use language in the book "The Color Purple"?​

The book "The Color Purple" was written by Alice Walker and it is an epistolary novel. It narrates a story about a black female life back in the 1930s in the southern United States. The Color Purple is composed of letters written to God and it briefly summarize the story and hardship of the main character Celie. Alice Walker used very different styles of language for different characters in the book, which are Celie and Nettie. The whole book was written in first person from the Celie's point of view and every letters she starts with Dear God, which seems like that she is addresssing us as a God.

Walker used a language, consisting of poor grammar and spelling intentionally to present Celie's thoughts. This shows effectively that black females at that time weren't well-educated due to racism that existed in United States, which led to the division between black children schools and white children schools. And so, Celie in her letters uses African-American language, that is typical for black females at that time. Walker here, used African-American language for Celie to put stress on the African slave trade, where African captives were forced to communicate among themselves and with their captors in English. African-American language then arose from one or more slave creoles combined with the original english. This pidgin english contains language features that can be found throughout the book "The Color Purple" such as, lexis"Ain't", double negatives "Us don't say nothing to each other", phonetic spelling "ast", etc.

Nevertheless, the racism that existed wasn't the only problem that Celie had to face, but also she was sexually and physically abused by her non-biological father from the very early childhood, which can be seen from the very beginning of the book. Later on, she was also sold into a marriage to a man who wants a servant, not a wife, who keeps abusing her just like her fake-father...
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