The Color Purple: Alice Walker
Setting: This novel depicts the life journey of a woman and her sister and therefore takes place in different locations. Three main locales are Atlanta, Georgia, Memphis, Tennessee and the Olinka Village in Monrovia, Africa. (In the early to late 1900’s.)
Celie: the protagonist (most of the book is written from her point of view). She’s the oldest of twelve children and was impregnated twice by her step-father (at fourteen). She was forced to give away her children shortly after her mother died; she was married off to a man named Albert whose four kids she had to raise. She is described as skinny, ugly, dark skinned and uneducated.
Nettie: Celie’s younger sister, the second oldest of twelve children. When Celie was married off and had to leave home, Nettie’s life was miserable so she ran away to live with Celie and her husband. Nettie was soon kicked out of Albert’s house because the latter was courting her and Nettie refused to have that sort of liaison with her sister’s husband. After that day, the two sisters wouldn’t see each other for nearly 40 years! Nettie is described as skinny, beautiful, dark skinned and very smart.
Alphonso/Pa: The man who Celie and Nettie believed was their father but turned out to only be their step father. He fathered eight children with Nettie and Celie’s mom and two with Celie after he forcibly impregnated her at age 14. When Celie first got pregnant, he made her abandon her studies. He was very abusive and condescending especially toward Celie. He was very much into younger women.
Albert: Celie’s husband. He married her when she was only twenty years old shortly after his own wife was murdered. He has four kids: two boys and two girls. He is incredibly abusive toward Celie and a firm believer that women are supposed to be subservient to men. He is deeply in love with a singer named Shug Avery whom he had an open affair with a few years back.
Harpo: Albert’s oldest son. He’s the only one of Albert’s children who remained close to home. He fell in love and then married a woman named Sofia but she ended up leaving him and taking the kids with her. He remarried a younger woman named Mary Agnes (nicknamed Squeak) who he fathered two children with.
Sofia: Harpo’s first wife who is extremely strong willed, sharp tongued and short tempered. She refuses to bow down to anyone especially Caucasians and men. She is a very hard worker and fighter. When she left Harpo, she remarried a boxer and had a child with him. She was put in prison after sassing the Mayor’s wife and beating up the Mayor. After a few years in prison, Mary Agnes found a way to pay off her debt to society by tending to the Mayor’s kids. After years of service, Sofia was able to go back home to her children and revive her relationship with Harpo.
Shug Avery: A blues singer who stole the hearts of both Albert and Celie. She’s the talk of the town for more than one reason. She’s known for her flighty behavior, numerous liaisons and the abandonment of her children (she had three which she left with her parents to raise). When Shug comes back to town sick, no one wants to take her in except Albert. Her time in Albert’s home allowed her to reconnect with him and teach Celie how to love, sew and stick up for herself. After Shug makes her comeback and gets Celie to read all of Nettie’s letters that Albert had been hiding from her, she takes Celie away to Memphis, Tennessee to be away from Albert’s cruelty.
Samuel: A Reverend and missionary worker. First married to a woman named Corrine who adopted both of Celie’s children. When Nettie left Albert’s house, Celie advised her to live with the Reverend and his family. Samuel welcomed her with open arms. He made a missionary trip to a village in Africa and brought his family (and Nettie) with him. After spending many years on the large continents, his wife died of a rare African disease. He was heartbroken...
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