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The Color Purple
Some key facts
Genre: Confessional novel, "Brevroman"
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.
1910s–1940s. 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 and through Nettie's letters we get an insight into her life in Africa
Celie is the main character and 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 in love with Shug Avery, a blues singer. Shug later comes to live with Mr. __ and Celie to recover from an illness. Shug has a significant influence on the protagonist, leading her ultimately
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.
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. ___ and Celie's stepson. He is thin and weak 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?