The Color Purple Summary
The work Color Purple by Alice Walker is about fighting, but with no military and weapons. It is all about the fight by some women against the male-dominated society where there is a rapist hidden in every man. Evidently, if the men in real society are crazy rapists like the ones presented by Alice Walker, women will have to fight like the ones in Alice Walker’s work. The work exemplifies the virtues of lesbianism as against the evils involved in heterosexuality.
Admittedly, in the work, there are a number of women characters ranging from Celie, her mother, Nettie, Shug, Sofia, and Mary Agnes. If someone asks what all these women have in common in the work, the only response is that they all had the common experience of rape, not at the hands of strangers, but at the hands of their own fathers, uncles, and other close relatives. Now, it is easy to claim that the ‘fight’ Sofia and Celie are talking about is their fight against the dominance of males over their lives and personal interests.
However, a look into their history proves that the way adopted by Celie and Sofia are entirely different in order to fight men and fate. For example, Celie, through most of her life, surrendered herself to the atrocities of males and accepted each harm inflicted on her without any hint of protest. For example, at the age of fourteen, Celie is molested by her father, and she gives birth to a baby. Though her mother is eager to know who the father is, Celie says ‘God’. Later on, when the child is taken away by her father to hide the reality, she again says ‘God took it’.
Here, the best explanation one can give is that Celie was surrendering herself to every atrocity men committed on her as the will of God, and was not ready to protest. In addition, she tries to protect her younger sister Nettie from her molester father by attracting him towards her. However, a lot more action is in the pipeline before making the conclusion that only her father is a molester.
She is given on marriage to Mr._ who already has four children in his former wife. Though he wants to marry Nettie, his father is not ready as he wants to use her. Though the altruistic Celie happily marries Mr._ as it gives a chance to keep Nettie away from her father, Mr._ kicks Nettie out of the household as she refuses to have sex with him. Admittedly, Mr._ is as bad as, or even worse than, Celie’s father.
Though Mr._’s all four children hate Celie, she continues to take good care of them in a way their expired mother never did. Another point that shows the evil mind of men is when Mr._ brings Shug- his lover- home, and directs Celie to take care of her. Here also, Celie is not ready to complain or protest. Instead, she just goes on nursing the new lady, and even enjoys sex with her. Another point where the writer invites unconditional sympathy to Celie is in letter fifteen. Celie goes to work in the cotton field while Mr._ just sits on the porch and smokes. However, the reader is not supposed to ask as to how he might have survived before he married Celie as he was married to a woman who did not even comb the hair of her four children.
It is Shug’s help that gives her the courage to leave Mr._ as she realizes that the letters from Nettie have been hidden by him in a trunk. Thereafter, she leaves her husband and lives independently. There, again, she is kind enough to her husband Mr._ who is a changed man. On the other hand, as Hubert opines, Sofia is presented as a woman who is always in a fight with the men around her; and she is not willing to give in to any aggression from the part of men (21).
Her husband-Harpo-too is a man who has no nerves. Though he loves her and makes her pregnant, he does not have the courage to bring her home. As she is insulted by Mr._ and as Harpo fails to support her, she goes back home. There again, another male, her father, kicks her out. Then she goes and lives with her sister. Though Harpo is such a dependent and weak creature, there is a chauvinist hidden in him that wants to control Sofia just like Mr._ controls Celie. However, Sofia hits him back and soon leaves him. She finds another man and survives. Again, she gets into a fight with the mayor and his wife and gets jailed. Thus, it becomes evident that both women fight a lot in their life, but the ways they fight are entirely different.
It seems that Sofia is too aggressive in life and has failed to understand the love Harpo has towards her. A short period after marriage, she loses interest in him, and so, she does not hesitate to leave him. Admittedly, she could have given Harpo more time to give up his dominating attitude, especially considering the fact that he loved her. As Wright points out, blacks in America in the 19th and 20th century faced a lot of discrimination, and black women were the main victims (206).
However, in Color Purple, both black and white women live in constant fear of rape and molestation by close relatives, and thus, a clear exaggeration of the situation from a highly feminist perspective where hatred, instead of rationality plays a major role.
Works Cited Hubert, Christopher. Alice Walkers The Color Purple. USA: Research & Education Association, 1996. Print. Wright, Donald R. “African Americans.” In. Barney, William L (Ed). A Companion to 19th-Century America. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.