The Colour Purple: Celie

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An investigation into the characters and events within the novel, The Colour Purple, which lead to the eventual independence and spiritual maturity of the character Celie, will hereby be discussed, making reference to key themes, motifs & symbols which molded her character’s journey from the chains of oppression to freedom.

From the very first page, a painful truth of female oppression is recognized. Alphonso, Celie’s father, depicts an unnatural role of abuser rather than father when he proceeds to rape her, impregnate her and verbally diminish her. It is these actions of her father which strike a fear into Celie’s heart, “I don’t look at mens. That’s the truth. I look at women, tho, cause I’m not scared of them,” and ultimately establish the initial relationship of trust in God, “You better not never tell nobody but God. “ One may have expected such behavior due to the time period in which the novel takes place, however, the extent to which the men in Celie’s life abuse her falls beyond the “normal” domination of males in a society where such behavior was acceptable, and gives a deeper look into the harsh reality of female oppression in that time. After being handed over to Albert for a wife (much like cattle is sold to a farmer), Celie is further exploited for pleasure and free labor. “…Never ast me how I feel, nothing. Just do his business, get off, go to sleep.” Celie the victim does however begin to morph as characters such as Sophia and Shug are introduced. She learns from these powerful women that, in her, dwells the power to overcome oppression.

As from her first appearance in the novel, Sofia’s character can be sized up as a strong, independent woman whose knees will never bend under instruction of a male. Upon failing to make Sofia mind, Harpo seeks advice from Albert and Celie. Celie, out of jealousy of Sofia’s ability to ignore domination, instructs Harpo to beat Sofia. One might not understand how a woman who herself has been...
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