Some Thoughts on Our Recent Read

After reading the first few pages, I knew I wasn’t going to like this book, due to its graphic nature, which took me by surprise. ” Then he push his thing inside my pussy…” (Pg 1). We are given a very vivid and lucid description of the main character being sexually abused by her stepfather on the first page! We are then subjected to experiencing a 14 year old girl undergo some of the worst physical and mental experiences a human being might experience (getting impregnated by your father, or lack of parental love ). These elements bred into the plot of the story made this an uncomfortable read at the very least. However, as the story progressed, it presented new elements that I enjoyed, and an example is the character development. The most profound example of that can be seen with Mr. (aka) Albert. He is introduced and described to be a man similar to the main character’s father (Celie), which speaks volume.

“He beat me like he beat the children. Cept he don’t never hardly beat them. He say, Celie, git the belt. The children be outside the room peeking through the cracks. Its all I can do not to cry.” (Pg 22)

She was married off to an abusive man who seamlessly beat her given any inconvenience caused by her, and also the same person whom instilled the fear of men in her. We see him transform into a completely different person after Celie leaves his house with Shug. We learn he was a likeable person in the past but changed because he couldn’t be with the woman he loves (Shug). Anyhow, he changes and comes to realize the pain he caused for Celie and changes.

“I know you won’t believe this, Miss Celie, say Sofia, but Mr.   act like he trying to git religion. Big a devil as he is, I say, trying is bout all he can do. He don’t go to church or nothing, but he not so quick to judge. He work real hard too. What? I say Mr.    work!” (Pg 221)

” Dear God, My mama dead. She died screaming and cussing.” (Pg 2). Another interesting feature of this book is that most of its chapters begin with “Dear God”. The main character narrates the story in the format of a diary or a journal addressed to God, and the significance of this choice intrigues me. The events Celie undergoes are terrible and scarring, and by writing them down, it may serve as a perseverance and a source of strength to remind Celie of what she’s experienced to overcome any new challenges that may appear. In addition, this feature reminds me of a popular Catholic practice, in which a person stays inside a “Confession Booth”, and relays information that they would preferably not let other people know. Although, the people confess in the presence of a Pastor, they are supposedly speaking directly to God during the practice. The process and outcome of confessing is similar to Celie’s narrative style.

In addition, Walker’s decision to include Nettie in the voice of narration was also interesting, and represents more that meets the eye. Prior, to Celie’s discovery of Nettie’s letters, Celie was the only narrator and her experiences and perspective became the readers idea of the world she lived in. So, Celie’s world and perspective were very similar to that of the readers. Which included the antagonization of all men, the existence of only black and white people and their hierarchy in relation to one another, and the only “good” people being Shug and Nettie. However, once Nettie begins narrating her experiences, both Celie’s and the readers idea of their world shifts. She experiences different pleasures such as traveling and finding something she’s passionate about. She meets kind men, and discovers other cultures in which men and women coexist. She experiences selfishness and “evil” from both blacks and whites. She falls in love and experiences the joy of raising and having children.

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