Alice Walker’s The Color Purple chronicles the lives of African-American women living in the deep American South during the 1930s. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the novel addresses the many issues that plague black women, especially their exceptionally low status in the social culture. Walker cleverly tells the story of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, through a series of letters and diary entries. Celie, a poor, uneducated young woman, has been sexually abused by the man she believed was her father, and at the tender age of fourteen is forced to be the wife of a physically and mentally abusive widower, and the caretaker of his unruly children. Contrary to her sister, Nettie manages to escape the sexual advances of her “father,” as well as, Mr.______, Celie’s husband, and become an educated and traveled missionary. Sisterhood is defined as a “congenial relationship or companionship among women; mutual female esteem, concern, or support.” In the end, it is the sisterhood that surrounds Celie, as well as the hope Nettie supplies, that allows her (Celie) to escape the authoritative control of her husband and embrace her own identity.
As I read this novel and I compared its details with my experiences as a black, female, college student. I begin to wonder if the idea of sisterhood between black women has become null and void. Because of the competitive nature of society, black women seem as though they do not want other women, or their competitors, to succeed. For example, Shug, Mr._______’s mistress, who comes to live with the family as a result of her poor health, displays her lack of respect for Celie by copying her lover, abusing Celie and adding to her humiliation. However, unlike present times, Celie admired Shug’s strength and her liberated version of femininity. Moreover, once Shug became aware of the physical abuse Mr.____ demonstrated toward Celie, she resolved that she would stay and protect Celie. In today’s society, black women, first,...
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