The Color Purple


Alice Walker 1944-

Author and feminist.

Her works often deal with race, gender and class. Her book The color Purple recieved

a Pulitzer prize in 1983.

Some key facts

Genre: Confessional novel, "Brevroman"

Main themes  · The power of narrative and voice; the power of strong female relationships;

the cyclical nature of racism and sexism;

the disruption of traditional gender roles

Major conflict  · Celie is verbally, physically, and sexually abused by several different men, leaving her with little sense of self-worth, no narrative voice,

and no one to run to.

- Sparknotes

Banned books

The color purple has been both a "Challenged" book and a "Banned Book"


This is a practise we do not have in Sweden.

It is quite common in the US however.


It was banned for these reasons:

Sexual explicitness

"Troubling ideas of race"

Man's identity to god

African history





1910s1940s. Though The Color Purple is a historical novel, it never refers to any factual events. There are no dates, little sense of the passage of time, and very few mentions of characters’ ages.

The story is  partly set in rural Georgia, around the farm of Mr. ___ and the surrounding town.


Through Nettie's letters to Celie we also get an insight into her life in Africa as a missionary.


Celie is the main character. She has been oppressed by men her whole life, she is raped by her father; with whom she has two children during her adolescence.


Her father then gives her away to be married to Mr. ___, who is actually in love with a blues singer named Shug Avery. Shug has a significant influence on the protagonist, leading her ultimately to independence.

Mr. ___ (Albert)

Mr. ___ is the man to whom Celie is married. Originally, he seeks a relationship with Celie's sister Nettie, but settles for Celie. Mr. ___ mistreats Celie just as her father had, although Celie does not understand that she doesn't have to tolerate the abuse.

Mr. ___ uses Celie to help raise his children, who give her a hard time because she is not their biological mother.


Nettie is Celie's younger sister. She is beautiful and smart and highly intellectual. She shares her education with her sister when Celie must quit school, due to her pregnancy.

The sisters share a strong bond and tries to protect each other from harm. Even though they are separated at an early age Nettie try to stay in touch through letters from across the world.  








Reading strategies:


Mental imagery




Online support:

Research has shown that this method is optimal for both strong and weak readers

as far as understanding the text is concerned


We discuss the text as we read so anything that needs explaining becomes clear.

Why do we read aloud?

Reading has positive effects

for body and brain.

ONLY 6 minutes of reading

lowers your blood pressure,

your muscles relax and

your heart beats slower.

Relieving anxiety and stress.


You might feel the need to yawn

or stretch, that is normal.

Just do not fall asleep, mmkay?

What happens in your body/brain

What we want you to do

We read aloud for you.

Your job is to follow along in the text.

Your state of mind should be analytical and critical. We read for awhile and then take breaks where you have the opportunity to answer and ask questions.


We practice peaceful reading,

which means do not disturb fellow class mates or the people who are reading.


Wait til the breaks with your questions.


Peaceful reading

Eleverna ska i slutändan lämna in en "reaction"-text där de väver samman sina reaktioner med post-kolonialismen.


Som ett delmoment kan de kanske spela in som små reactionsvideos.

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för att öva på formen av "reactions"

Shug Avery

A sultry blues singer who first appears as Mr. ___'s mistress, Shug becomes Celie's friend. Shug remains a gentle mentor who helps Celie evolve into a independent and assertive woman throughout her Life.

Harpo and Sofia

Harpo is the oldest son of Mr. ___.  He is thin and week as his father. He falls in love with Sofia and eventually marries her. Sofia is strong both physically and mentally. At first they seem happy together while building a house and starting a family. But, when Harpo starts trying to beat her , their marriage starts to fall apart.

Why does Harpo beat Sofia?

What is Celie's part in this?


Why does she do what she does?

What is Harpos and Sofias relationship like before and after the beating?

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