The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, is a very intense book to read. By intense, I mean it is a book touching very difficult and hard aspects of life of a poor, black oppressed woman in the early twentieth century. Walker does social criticism in her novel, mostly criticizing the way black women were treated in the early twentieth century. Walker uses the life experiences of Celie to illustrate her social criticism.
The Color Purple is not written in the style of most novels. The author does not tell us everything about the characters, the setting, and why the characters behave the way they do. The novel is written in a series of letters, not dated. There are large gaps between some letters, but this is not revealed by the author; we have to figure it out ourselves. The letters are written in what Walker calls black folk language, which also reduces the easiness of the reading.
When the novel opens, Celie is a young black girl living in Georgia in the early years of the twentieth century. She in an uneducated girl, and writes her letters in common language. Celie is entering her adolescence believing she was raped by her father and that he killed both of their children. She writes to God, because she has no one else to write to. She feels that what happened to her is so terrible that she can only talk about it to someone she feels loves her. She knows her sister Nettie loves her, but she is too young to understand. Celie believe only to God may she talk honestly and openly about her suffering. Celie is not, however, at this point, complaining to God, she is simply confiding in him.
Celie was born into a poor family; her mother was sick most of the time, mentally and physically; there were too many children in the family; and Celie was abused by the man she believed was her father. Celie feels used and abused, but does not understand why. So many bad things have happened to Celie that she lacks self esteem...