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Alice Walker’s the Color Purple - the Transformation of a Life

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Emma Kate Rackley

Dr. Tindal

AP Literature and Composition

28 November 2017

The Transformation of a Life

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple intertwines a complex story of women who are bound by their love for each other, the men who have abused them, and the children that they care for. Celie, the main character, is a dynamic character and changes from an abused, insecure girl to a strong, loving woman. She learns to love and fight for the things she needs and desires. Throughout the novel, Celie transforms and realizes that she is a vibrant, beautiful, and proud human being.

In the beginning of the novel, Celie is a young black girl living in Georgia. She has been raped by the man she believes is her father, and she thinks that he has killed her children. She starts writing letters to God because he is the only one that can listen to her problems. Her father also makes her marry a man that she does not love. Celie, being raped and marrying a man she does not love, shows the sense of insecurity she has. When Celie moves in with Mr.____, she is physically and verbally abused by him; and this adds to her insecurity even more. But when she meets Sofia, she wishes that she could be more like her. She learns from her that no wife has to take abuse from their husband. An example of this is when she tells Celie, “You ought to bash Mr.____ head. Think about heaven later” (42). She is trying to open Celie’s eyes and make her realize that she does not have to put up with the way Mr.____ treats her. This is one of first steps in which Celie starts to care about her life.

Celie’s second step in her transformation is Shug Avery. For a while, Celie is a slave to her husband more than she is a wife. But then Shug comes to town and Celie is infatuated with her and wants to be just like her. In due time though, she learns to become her own person. Through Shug she learns a lot more about herself sexually and mentally. Shug tries to show Celie just how mean and cruel Mr.____ is and how he has been hiding Nettie’s letters.  She tells her that, “I don’t know the Albert that don’t dance, can’t hardly laugh, never talk bout nothing, beat you and hid your sister Nettie’s letters. Who he” (123)? After Shug says this to Celie, she finally realizes that Mr.____ is worse than just physically abusive; he is emotionally abusive as well. When she starts to read Nettie’s letters and realizes just how long he has been hiding the letters she tells Shug, “How I’m gon keep from killing him… I think I feel better if I kill him” (144). Learning that Nettie is alive gives Celie the strength necessary for self-reliance, and from this point she stops fearing Mr.____.

The third and final step in Celie’s transformation is when she finally stands up to Mr.___ and leaves. Celie finally stops talking to God and starts talking to Nettie. She does this because she knows that Nettie loves her. At the dinner, Shug tells Mr.___ that she is leaving and Celie is coming with her. Mr.___ is shocked and asks Celie what is wrong. This is when Celie finds the fight that everyone has been telling her that she needs. She tells Mr.___, “You a lowdown dog is what’s wrong. It’s time to leave you and enter into the Creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need” (199). Celie also has enough nerve to jab her kase knife into Mr.___ hand. From this point on, Celie is a strong, independent woman. She has finally stood up to Mr.___ and has taken her life in her own hands. Celie is finally the independent woman that people have been telling her she needs to be.



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