My Personal Response to The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

In my Personal Response to The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, we are presented with a young girl subjected to incredible amounts of pain by the people who “we are meant to trust the most” (our parents).

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker is the literary illustration of female “damnation” in a world overrun by the male ego and superiority complex. On the first page of the novel, we are introduced to a young woman of colour who is unaware of the power she possesses over herself due to her age. Since the novel is set in the early 20th century, we know that “the world in which this story is placed” is based on a kind of “modern slavery” referring to the interracial and racial divide, and abuse, demonstrated throughout the book.

The “male domination” and female “damnation” which I stated before is predominantly carried out through the first half of the book, where we see most of the women involved must always answer to their husbands, seek approval and follow “the chain of command”. In these pages, we read how Celie is subjected to an unwanted underage marriage, abuse, mistreatment of her new partner which then causes her to become submissive or in better words endure whatever he needs is expected to fulfil all her “partner’s” wishes.

The intricacy of the psychological games played with these women is superior, their lack of capacity to understand that they CAN leave, they ARE able to make it in this world somehow although they will struggle is extraordinary but understandable due to undergone manipulation, threats, moral and religious conflicts.

Just by reading the first few pages of this novel, I felt uneasy, I felt my insides shake and twitch as I was overrun with fear, discomfort, pain and hatred, as an individual who can relate quite deeply with Celie due to her experiences of suppression in a male dominant world.

This book has language and imagery which many would not be able to comprehend the reasoning behind their use; this, I believe is done by the author to incentivise readers to really try to put themselves in Celie’s shoes, to try and feel her pain, the disgust, the loss of humanity she undergoes.

The Colour Purple is most definitely a controversial masterpiece that looks into a past vs present scenario by placing the reader in the 20th century with a 21st-century point of view on equality, racism and multiple forms of abuse.

The biggest “bullet to bite” for me was also to remember the fact that Celie is only a child, she has barely begun puberty and is submitted to rape, motherly tasks, the “guardianship” of her sister Nettie and her own survival. These tasks with help are attainable to complete but on her own, in my eyes are absolutely outstanding.

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