The Color Purple by Alice Walker is undoubtedly one of the most uplifting novels that I have read, revealing signs of hope and optimism as the novel progresses. Breaking into the first few pages of the novel, we were introduced to some very gruesome and unsettling imagery from the text that twisted my stomach ” Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When it hurt, I cry”, yet I still kept an open mind for what was to come, and let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. One thing that was hard to get used to was the narrative technique used by Walker as most of the letters were written informally with an old-fashioned American accent. At the beginning of the novel, It almost felt as if I was learning a new language, not quite piecing together what Celie was saying or expressing. But as the story unfolded, I adapted to this specific accent that Celie possessed, ironically leading me to be annoyed when the narrative switched to Nettie, who is much more clear and understanding with her choice of words. Although I had trouble understanding Celie because of her accent and the way Walker chose to narrate this story, I realized by doing so, it provided authenticity, voice, and cultural context, making me feel significantly more immersive and emotionally connected which enhanced my reading experience.
As this epistolary continued, I felt more invested and found myself intrigued by the growth that Celie endured throughout her journey. As many characters were introduced, I believe that Celie, the protagonist, endured the most profound character development. From my observations, Celie had a great showing of resilience, and self-discovery as the novel progressed. Starting from her limited perspective of the world and the oppression of racism, sexism, and abuse faced as a black woman in rural Georgia, to a transformation leading to the ability to confront her painful past, heal, and forgive for closure and inner peace. What amazed me about Celie was the way she was able to overcome adversity and hardships within her lifetime. This can be exemplified when Celie undergoes years of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by her stepfather, Alphonso, as well as her husband, Albert. Overcoming these challenges, we can see that Celie’s Sister, Nettie, acts as a catalyst by being that one piece in Celie’s life where the emotional connection she shares with her sister becomes a source of emotional support. As I continued to read, I felt a great amount of pent-up emotions behind the shared letters and a feeling of excitement as it continued to hold onto the hope of the sisters reuniting one day.
Overall, I am very happy to have read this novel, as it was my first time reading an “epistolary”. The novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker exceeded my expectations in many ways. While the initial graphic and unsettling imagery made me question what was to come, I’m grateful that I continued with an open mind because the narrative’s progression revealed an inspiring story of Celie that showed a profound understanding of resilience, transformation, and hope.