Walker, Alice - The Color Purple

Referat / Aufsatz (Schule), 2000
5 Seiten, Note: 1

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Autorin: Christine Reichl


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The author about the book (and the film)

Alice Walker is best known for her Pulitzer Prize - winning novel The Color Purple (1982). She depicts black women struggling for sexual as well as racial equality and emerging as strong, creative individuals. Her negative portraits of black men have been criticized on political and aesthetic grounds, but many have responded by arguing that the drama of women achieving selfhood is an important end in itself.

I would like to quote here Alice Walker from a speech she gave on March 29th, 1996 when she reflected on abuse, racism, criticism and revealed personal connections to The Color Purple. She begins with a letter she had written to Danny Glover who embodies Celie's abusal husband Mr.___ in the film. Alice says that her grandfather has abused her grandmother for many years and explains that by bringing to life a character that was similar to him, Glover has allowed her to come to terms with her feelings for her grandfather.

Walker explains how there was an enormous controversy over whether such occurences as rape and incest, which are depicted in the book, reflect real live. Since it was filmed 10 years ago, she is often asked about her opinion of the final result. She recalls how sh egot a headache the first time seh watched it because seh felt everything about it was wrong, but her opinion changed when she attended the premiere. While the film received 10 Academy Award nominations and much praise, Walker said it was also attacked by people who loathed it and accused her of hating (black) men and being a lesbian.

Walker says that the film was a gift for her mother. She has mirrored one of the characters, Nettie, after her mother with the exception that she had given her all the adventure and no children.

"For me, the filming of my book was a journey to the imagined and vastly rearranged lives of my mother, father and grandparents," she says. "It was a recreated world I hoped desperately my mother would live long enough to enter again through film."

"Even though I write books and believe very much in books, the truth is, as you all know, we have become a fairly illiterate culture. In order to communicate real things that you need to say to people, you also need to think of something visual and I do this with films." Although her book was made into a film, Walker says she feels that movies often destroy a person's ability to dream from deep within them. She states that there is a connection between a person's dreams and the path he takes.

This is the story of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, keeping a relationship which sustains time, distance and silence over many years, a story about love between two women and extreme male abuse and brutality.


The story is written from the sight of Celie in form of a diary which contains letters first to God, then to her younger sister Nettie. You can call this kind of book Epistolary Novel. When Celie is 14 years old, her stepfather, who she thinks is her father, begins to rape her, causing the birth of two children which he gives away to a missionary friend of his. A short time after her mother has died, Celie is married with Mr.___, her abusive husband who wanted to marry Nettie but her stepfather said no. Nettie runs away from home and comes to their house, but she rejects Mr.___, so he kicks her out on the street and Celie sends her to the same missionaries who have unknowingly adopted her children (a girl called Olivia and a boy called Adam). Nettie goes with them to Africa as a missionary, where she stays for thirty years, faithfully writing letters to her sister, never knowing if she's receiving them.

After years of abuse, Celie begins to become more optimistic when Shug Avery, a blues singer and old lover of Mr.___'s, is brought home by him because she's sick, so that Celie can nurse her. The two women fall in love with each other. Then, Celie finds out that Mr.___had hidden all the letters Nettie had written to her over the years. She starts to read them where Nettie's live is revealed. She lives with Corrine and Samuel and with Celie's children by the Olinka in a small village in West Africa. They all teach and nurse and Samuel preaches. Because there is such a strong ressemblance between Nettie and the childre, Corrine thinks that she's her mother and so agonizes herself to death. After she dies, Samuel and Nettie decide to get married and Adam marries Tashi, an Olinkan woman and they all return to America.

Meanwhile, Celie leaves Mr.___ to go to Memphis with Shug. Here they live in Shug's house. She makes a good living with singing and Celie starts to sew pants, first for Shug, then finally makes a business out of this hobby. But as Celie is away for some time to look after the house she has inheritted from her stepfather, Shug leaves her to have an affair with a 19 year old boy which whom she travels around to the Southwest to visit Shug's grown-up children. Celie stays in her house, forgives and becomes friends with Mr.___, who has changed a lot. Before and when Shug comes back, she is very happy with her friends and her sewing. At the end, the last thing to make her life perfect, her sister and her children, come home to her even if she had received a telegram saying that their ship had been sunk a long time ago.


Celie: The main character of the book has a very hard life. She was abused as a child, had to give up her two children and went right from one bad situation to another, suffering through a loveless marriage, the only happiness being Shug Avery, with whom she falls in love and who learns her how to be as strong and woman. In the beginning, Celie is weak and poor, but after she had lived with Shug, she is beautiful and indepentent adn able to forgive her husband for all the abuse.

Nettie: Celie's sister has chosen an easier life, sheltered from the abuse her older sister has lived through. She was always good at school and in learning and teached Celie when her stepfather didn't allow her to go to school anymore because of her pregnancy. Nettie has lived in Africa as a missionary and brought up her niece and nephew, whom she always saw as her own children.

Mr.___: Celie's husband had first fallen in love with Nettie but had to marry Celie. He loved Shug Avery through his whole life and even had children with her, but was so controlled by his father so that he couldn't marry her. He always hit Celie, for the only reason that she wasn't Shug (or like her). He has kids, but isn't a very good father. I think Celie calls him Mr.___, which sounds very anonymous, because she never felt near to him. She doesn't even know his Christian name for a long time. Only in the end, when they become friends, she calls him Albert in her letters. The ___ in his name is there to represent how Celie doesn't know anything abour him.

Shug Avery: Mr.___'s ex-lover is an amazing and famous jazz singer who always says what's on her mind. She is strong enough to stand up against Mr.___ who would never hit her. In the beginning, she treats Celie like a maid, but then they fall in love and she protects her best as she can, she's the first one in her life to take care of her.

Sofia: She is the wife of Mr.___'s son Harpo, which was a marriage out of love, but she leaves him, because he wants to beat her, and goes to live with her sisters.

One day, she hits the white major in town because she doesn't want to become his maid and this event changes her life. From then on she is arrested for many years for insulting a white person. Later, she has to become the white people's maid, but without the right to see her own children and finally she is free to live at home again and returns to her husband.

Shug and Celie

The relationship between these two women cuts very deep. Both of them help each other to become what they really want to be because both were oppressed people. Celie was oppressed by her lack of love and self esteem. Shug is caught in other people's image of her. What they really want is to become members of a loving family becauce that's what they never really had. Both of the women became what they were told they would. Celie was told from the beginning on that she were ugly, useless and worthless, so she always thought that it is. To Shug the people always said she was a whore an dso she became a woman wanted by every man and hated by every woman. For both their friendship was the first opportunity to open theirselves and to speak about their problems. Celie depended on Shug for love and security and the love they had for each other can be interpreted as a sort of lesbianism. But even if their relationship had an erotic touch, the motherly way the women felt about each other is much more important. Both were baby and mother at the same time.

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Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
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Walker, Alice, Color, Purple
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Christine REICHL (Autor), 2000, Walker, Alice - The Color Purple, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/98028


  • Gast am 21.11.2000

    najo, scho toll!.

    so, dann meld ich mich halt bei dir.... :o)
    vielen, vielen dank, dass du deine arbeit ins netz getan hast!!!
    bist meine rettung!
    werd deinen text zum verfassen eines bookreports verwenden...hoffe, es wird was!
    nochmal DANKE! dodo

  • Gast am 3.4.2001

    Kopiert und umgeschrieben?.

    Hmm..die Arbeit ist sehr gut, nur leider habe ich zufällig auf meinen Strefizügern im Internet eine ähnliche VErsion gefunden (jedenfalls was die Summery betrifft!)...und zwar ist das auf Seite:

    naja und da frage ich mich ob du das wohl alles nur kopiert und umgeschrieben hast?!

    Naja...ansonsten akzeptabel!

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