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Life And Death

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What It Takes to Overcome Suffering

When dealing with hardship in one's life, people deal with it in diverse ways. One may overcome suffering through their own thoughts and ventilation, or by through their relationships with themselves, other people, or even a higher being. Alice Walker, an African American writer, narrows the scope of suffering to a single, courageous woman in her novel, The Color Purple. Through this remarkable woman, Celie, Walker illustrates that even when life can't get any worse, one can overcome impossible odds. Alice Walker illustrates through Celie's triumph over Mr. _____, one overcomes suffering through the presence of strong positive relationships. The obstacles that Celie overcomes are indicative of the relationships that she acquires. Through the relationships that Celie forms with God, Sofia, Nettie, Shug, and the ultimate relationship she develops with herself, she is able to overcome the abuse and hardship that is present in her life and her past.

Celie's upbringing was not one, that which someone would call typical. She must care for her brothers and sisters, and is already burdened with the cooking and cleaning of the household because of her mother's deteriorating health. And if that is not a harsh struggle enough, Celie is being continuously raped by the man she knows to be her father. Celie gives birth to two of her father's children, whom he sells after Celie gives birth. She is tormented with the thoughts of her two born children, and why these horrible things happen to her. Celie is mistreated and abused day to day, and accepts this as the norm childhood. Not only is the young, innocent Celie raped

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again and again, she is beat by this man, when she does something he does not approve of. "He beat me today cause he say I winked at a boy in church" (Walker 5). She is victimized by this

man repeatedly and cannot help but only wonder why. She is thought of as nothing but a sexual object, and is taken advantage of over and over. She is stepped on repeatedly by her stepfather and is threatened not to say anything. "You better not never tell nobody but God. It's kill your mammy" (Walker 1). She is silenced not to tell anyone about her explicit rapes because she knows it would kill her mother, and therefore only expresses her hardship to God. This poor young girl deals with hardship most adults do not even encounter, but handles it with her own prerogative. Because of harsh circumstances and an inability to speak up, Celie begins the struggle of her life at such a young age.

Celie's struggle comes to no conclusion, but continues in the same way with her marriage to Mr.____. "Celie is a woman who is victimized physically and psychologically by both her stepfather and her husband" ("Alice Walker" 422). The man she is sold to, known as Mr.____, is set up by her stepfather Fonso, not to be necessarily his wife, but his sex slave with no consequence. The actions of both her step father as well as her husband parallel each other in the way that they treat Celie with zero respect or dignity. '"Mr._____say...All women do good for--he don't finish...Remind me of Pa"'(Cutter 5). She is reliving the horrors of her childhood in the same way her husband as she did her father. Albert, Celie's estranged husband, treats her as though she was an object, not a person; an object that was only to be used by him and no one else. Albert had wished to marry another woman, but was given Celie, and therefore dissatisfied with the way things turned out. He takes out his dissatisfaction on his innocent wife, who knows nothing better than to do exactly as he tells her. Celie is manipulated physically and emotionally

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by her husband, and leads an abusive life, which she accepts to be the normal. Celie comes to the conclusion that "a girl is nothing to herself; only to her husband can she become something"

(Walker 155). She comes to feel that she can never be her own person; she must live the life her husband gives her to live. A traumatic life and past can only mold one into who they will become.

Celie's life is full of traumatic events and circumstances, and she struggles to no end. Celie is completely stepped on by everyone around her, and fails to do anything about it. She sits back and is continuously raped, and beaten by the men in her life. She goes through such heartache as a child, and relives that same pain as an adult. She often contemplates why this happens to her, but lets it happen. She acknowledges the facts, that these horrible things are indeed happening to her, but she disregards what she knows, and dwells on what she is told. She completely disregards what she knows to be true in her heart, but lives her life according to the way her husband wants her to live. She knows nothing better than this harsh, abusive life that tormented her soul as a child, and lets it happen once again in her adulthood. And that in turn leaves Celie with a harsh way of life, and is left with nothing, but her desires and deepest thoughts.

Celie begins to write letters filled with her deepest thoughts. Thoughts on how she is abused, how she feels about herself, and a plea for an answer on why this is happening to her. Her letters are addressed to God. "Because she must survive against impossible odds, because she has no one to talk to, she writes about her life in the guise of letters to God" (Steinem 424). Celie confides to God all the misfortunes and horrors that she has been dealt with at such a young age. She has no one to disclose her emotions to, no one to trust or have faith in, which is

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why she turns to God. "...she must tell someone the truth and confirm her existence..." (Steinem 424). Celie pleas to God for a sign on why she suffers, and trusts God to hopefully give her some sort of explanation. Although Celie confides to the fullest extent in God, she becomes restless and cannot handle being in the dark about her suffering. Celie soon discovers that her husband, Mr. _____, has been hiding the letters that her sister, Nettie, has been writing to Celie for months. After becoming aware of this horrifying knowledge, Celie blames God for allowing Mr._____ to do such a horrible thing. She is completely discouraged, for the person she held the utmost trust in "betrayed" her in a way that is unforgivable. She begins to feel apathetic towards God and blames him for the troubles she has been given. "Yeah, I say, and he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, a low down dog of a step pa, and a sister I probably won't ever see again" (Walker

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