By: anywhere between 1906-1940 and was originally published

 By: Alice Walker I chose to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker because it has complex characters and complex themes, but Walker has dealt with them in a simple, honest manner. It is not a depressing read at all. In the end, we are left with the wisdom that “we are in the world to love each other” The genre is an epistolary (In the form of letters) novel and Fiction. This story takes place in rural Georgia in the early 20th century; Western Africa in a small village in the early 20th century. The time period is anywhere between 1906-1940 and was originally published in 1982 by Harcourt. The leading character and narrator of The Color Purple, is a poor, uneducated, fourteen-year-old black girl living in Georgia. Celie starts writing letters to God because her father, Fonso, beats and rapes her. Celie, Nettie, Mista, and Shug Avery are the main characters of the novel. Walker made history as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature as well as the National Book Award in 1982 for her novel “The Color Purple” one of the few literary books to capture the popular imagination and leave a permanent imprint. The Color Purple constructs an intricate mosaic of women joined by their love for each other, the men who abuse them, and the children they care for. The first few letters are in third person, as Celie is talking to God about how she has been raped and is pregnant for the second time by her father. After Celie’s mother dies, she turns her attention to protecting her sister, Nettie, from her father’s sexual advances. Soon enough Celie marries Mista, an older farmer who’s a widow, and Celie finds herself in a loveless marriage, caring for her husband’s four children and being regularly raped and beaten. In addition, Celie is telling God that sexual violence should not be her reward for having been a “good girl.” She feels that she’s being punished, that somehow she’s to blame and she doesn’t understand why. Celie is hoping a sign from God will explain why she has been suffering. She is troubled, in terrible pain, deeply confused, and feels extremely alone. Therefore, Celie writes to someone whom she trusts, God, asking for understanding and an explanation. The main characters in this novel are Celie, a young black girl, who believed she had been raped by her father and he killed her babies. The novel examines her struggle to find love, self-esteem, and continuing courage despite harsh setbacks. Nettie, Celie’s sister. Celie loves Nettie more than anyone else in the world. Fonso, Celie and Nettie’s stepfather; shortly after their father is killed he marries their widowed mother. Mista, the moody vicious man whom Fonso chooses as Celie’s husband. Shug Avery, a blue’s singing, no-nonsense woman who teaches Celie about love and self-esteem. Harpo, Mista’s misguided, immature son; Sofia’s husband. Sofia, The outspoken and independent wife of Harpo. An epic tale spinning 40 years in the life Celie, an African-American woman living in the South who survives abuse and discrimination. After Celie’s abusive father marries her off to the equally abusive debasing Mista Albert Johnson, things go from bad to worse, leaving Celie to find companionship anywhere she can. Mista neglects and abuses Celie until Nettie comes by asking to stay with them, because the father, Fonso, can’t keep his hands off her. When Mista is unable to lure Nettie, he sends her away, leaving Celie more distressed than ever. Nettie makes a promise saying nothing but death can keep her from Celie. Meanwhile, Mista’s lover, Shug Avery, comes to visit and befriends Celie, helping her to understand she is more than a servant.  Celie ends up leaving Mista with a threat saying that everything he touches will fall apart until he does right by her. Mista finds it in his heart to go to the INS to help Nettie prove that she is a US citizen and return from Africa, where she has been living with Celie’s two children. Celie is reunited with Nettie and her two children in a heartfelt ending to an extraordinary novel. In one instance in The Color Purple, Shug Avery tells Celie, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” The color purple must be awed at for no other reason than that it exists. In the novel Celie is portrayed as the color purple, because she doesn’t believe her existence has any importance, but eventually comes to an understanding that, “I may be black. I may be ugly. But I’m here.” And that is good enough. The author’s tone and Celie’s confessional letters made the book a very strong one. I feel as though the author used the letters in a brilliant way, and I loved they showed the progressions of Celie’s independence and confidence. Her last letter is written to God, because she is finally reunited with her sister, and found a happy and comfortable lifestyle with Shug Avery. A couple weaknesses are that some people may not be able to understand the vocabulary and grammar in the text and could sometimes be misunderstood, but this novel does date back to the 1930’s, so you have to keep an open mind. Throughout reading the novel, Walker does not tell us everything about the characters, the setting, and why the characters behave as they do. This novel consists of a series of letters, none of which are dated, and in-order to have a time frame for the novel, we must read through it carefully, watching for clues about social attitudes, clothes and other telling details. Other than that, this was an amazing read and I would highly recommend it.