The Color Purple - A Triumph of the Spirit

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 13:07   /   Views: 223
"The Color Purple" tells the heartbreaking story of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the reconstruction era of the American South. Through a series of poignant letters to both God and to her sister, Nettie, Celie tells us the turbulent story of her life and the events that shaped it...events ranging from childhood abuse to success and wealth as an adult.

I realize that this book is often assigned to high school students, but that does not mean it is easy reading...not by a long shot. The themes presented in "The Color Purple" are very adult and very advanced. Additionally, the pictures Walker paints of Celie's abuse (both emotional and physical) are extraordinarily vivid and may upset some more sensitive readers, no matter what their age. They will certainly leave a lasting imprint on any reader who is not completely and totally hard-hearted.

Celie is a woman who, despite the extreme hardships of her life, possesses intelligence, good humor, sensitivity and kindness in abundance. It is very easy to become attached to the generous and strong Celie and feel both extreme sympathy for her and empathy with her. Although much of this complex book is dark and oppressive, the last third is quite uplifting and well worth the wait.

This is a well-written book but I did think the sad scenes were a touch too melodramatic and the happy scenes slightly over-romanticized. The book is so good, however, that I'm willing to overlook what I felt was a small fault. The characters are so good, so lifelike, so fully-drawn, that any over-dramatization is easily forgiven.

It might be difficult for some readers to become accustomed to the rather strange style of Celie's letters. Celie is an uneducated girl and her language shows it. My advice would be to persevere, keep reading and in just a little while anyone will become so caught up in Celie's story, that the letters will flow and the pages will simply fly by.

Some readers might find this book simply too depressing to read. If they do, then they are missing its central message and theme. Yes, much of the book does consist of tragic happenings and depressing scenes, but ultimately, "The Color Purple" is a triumph, one of the most uplifting and even joyous books I have yet to read.

"The Color Purple" is a book in which men are the "bad guys" and women the "good guys." I have heard some readers complain about this. Those who do must consider the time period in which this story is set. Celie was born in the late 1800s...a time in America when men were quite dominating and women were relagated to a "backseat" role in life. Their will was subjugated to the will of the men in their life. It is no surprise that Celie draws both strength and love from the women around her rather than from the men.

Life, during Celie's day was extremely difficult, especially for a woman. But Celie is an extraordinary person...a person who knows how it feels to be abused, oppressed and subjugated into almost total annihilation. And, she also knows the joy of surviving, and overcoming, that abuse and oppression. She knows how it feels to find strength within herself, to become content, peaceful and serene. Ultimately, Celie is a woman who finds the capacity within her to create her own life and she creates a life filled with the magic of love.

I think anyone who can find it in his or her heart to not love Celie must be missing a vital piece of that heart. Celie is the most unforgettable character I have yet to meet and she is the fictional character who most tugged at my heart and burrowed into my soul. "The Color Purple" is more than a novel. It is a triumph of the spirit of man. Or, more precisely, it is the triumph of the spirit of one extraordinary woman, a woman anyone would be proud to know.

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