The Color Purple: Impact of Poverty and a Poorly Developed Society on the Protagonist

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ISU Essay: The Color Purple
“The Color Purple,” is a novel written by Alice Walker and it follows the lives of the main character Celie and her younger sister Nettie. They both exchange letters throughout the novel about the events transpiring in their lives. In this essay it will become evident that the poverty and poorly developed society in this novel had a negative impact on the main character morally, and physically.

“The Color Purple” is set in rural Georgia during 1910-1940(Book Drum), during the 1800s there were many slaves in Georgia (Bellamy). It is implied in the novel that the main characters in the book are descendants of slaves because in a letter to Celie, Nettie says “Millions and millions of Africans were captured and sold into slavery—you and me, Celie!”(Walker 139). During this time there was a lot going on for the colored people in the south. This novel is set before the African American Civil Rights Movement and when African-Americans were still being affected by the Jim Crow laws (Book Drum). The Jim Crow laws were a set of laws which stated that everything for African-Americans should be separate but “equal” (Pilgrim, D. D). The main character Celie grows up in an impoverished society which has a negative impact on her.

Due to the impoverished and flawed society the morals were not of any standard. An example of this is when Celie gets raped by her stepfather Fonso. “You better not never tell nobody but god. It’d kill your mammy” (Walker 1). Fonso says this to Celie after he rapes her and does not feel much remorse because he does it repeatedly. It is also implied that he was going to rape Nettie as well “Sometime he still be looking at Nettie, but I always get in his light” (Walker 5). This proves that the society did not have acceptable morals.

The society in this novel was undeveloped and lacked solid laws, due to this Celie constantly suffered physical abuse from her stepfather and husband. “He beat me for dressing trampy...
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