Using letter 22, explore Walker’s use of language to present Celie’s impression of Shug. Examine how the manipulation of language contributes to our understanding of the significance of Shug to Celie.
Shug’s significance to Celie plays a pivotal role in the novel ‘The Color Purple. Through Walker’s use of language, we understand the importance of this significance, which helps to develop Celie’s character throughout and is already prominent in letter 22. Firstly, we understand that Shug’s arrival excites Celie a lot and she feels ecstatic that Shug is there to be taken care of. Celie uses a metaphor to explain ‘I think my heart gon fly out my mouth’ as soon as she notices Shug’s foot alone, revealing how fast her heart is beating and how much influence Shug has over Celie before we have even seen her face. Celie even wants to ‘cry’ and ‘shout’ to welcome Shug however we realise that Celie believes it is not her place to speak and she ‘don’t say nothing’, which shows that Celie has become accustomed to not voicing her opinions. This develops later when we realise that Shug is one of the main reasons for Celie’s character development and her ability to speak for herself much more. The first description Celie gives of Shug’s appearance in letter 22 is that she is ‘dress to kill’ giving a striking first impression. The use of the powerful verb ‘kill’ promotes Shug’s dominance and authoritative aura that she gives off and Celie’s use of this highlights the contrast between Celie and Shug’s characters. Additionally Celie pays close attention to what Shug is wearing from the ‘chickinhawk feathers’ to the ‘snakeskin bag’ which she describes ‘match her shoes’ showing Celie’s eye for detail. This close observation could portray how captivated Celie is by Shug and might suggest that Celie has been staring and constantly looking up and down at Shug in fascination in order to take in every part of her appearance. Also, the fact that ‘And she dress to kill’ is a single...
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