The Color Purple Essay Research Paper Celie

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The Color Purple Essay, Research Paper Celie s journey toward self-definition in The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, is filled with moments of growth as well as of tragedy and abuse. Throughout her life she is mistreated and put down. While bad things continue to happen to her, Celie s instinct to survive never fails. Through her letters to God and her younger sister Nettie, and through her relationship with Shug, Celie begins to overcome adversity and see herself as a person who has value and who deserves to be treated with respect. These are the things that Celie went through in her shruggle for survival with mister. When the book begins, Celie is a 14-year-old girl growing up in Georgia, when she is faced with the ultimate child abuse. She is repeatedly raped by her

stepfather and becomes pregnant by him twice. She has almost no self-worth or self-esteem. She doesn t even fully understand what has happened to her or what she has done to deserve it. To help her cope with the abuse and to help sort out her feelings, Celie writes letters to God. The first lines of her first letter show her sense of worthlessness. Dear God, I am fourteen years old. I am, I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me (p. 1). The way she crosses out I am, and replaces it with I have, shows she no longer views herself as a good girl. Unfortunately for Celie, her life continues to be filled with abusive people. Her stepfather marries her off to Mr. ____, who does not love her, respect her or treat her with any

decency whatsoever. He just wants her to take care of him and his kids. She is almost like a slave to him and she feels no love for him at all. He beats and degrades her, lowering her self-worth even more. Celie s letters to God keep her going. She is stronger than she thinks and her letters reflect her strength. In them, she never complains about her situation, she just wants to know why her life is the way it is. Her letters to God are completely honest, and in them, she can express her true feelings, fears and dreams of seeing her sister Nettie again. Another point of interest is that Celie doesn t sign her letters to God. It s as if she doesn t think enough of herself to take pride in her name or who she is at all. Celie s life changes when Mr. ____ s mistress, Shug Avery,

arrives. At first Shug doesn t think very highly of Celie at all. Once they spend time together, Shug begins to love and care for Celie. Besides her sister, Shug is the only person to ever love Celie. As their relationship grows, so does Celie s image of herself. She slowly begins to see herself as Shug does, a strong woman who is deserving of love. Celie also discovers her sexuality through Shug, who teaches her about her body. Although they share a physical relationship, their love goes beyond that, and they bond in way that Celie has never known. She feels adored, cared for and most important, loved by Shug. Shug said, Nobody ever love me, I say. She say, I love you, Miss Celie. And then she haul off and kiss me on the mouth (p. 117-118). Celie slowly begins to love herself.

Shug is a strong woman who doesn t take anything from anybody. She would never let a man push her around or tell her what to do. In this way, she sets an example for Celie. Shug slowly shows Celie that she can stand up for herself and be her own woman. This concept is foreign to Celie who has lived her whole life obeying men. It takes the drastic realization that Mr. ____ has been intentionally keeping Nettie s letters from her, for Celie to change her life. She can t imagine that he would be so knowingly cruel when he understands how much Nettie means to her. It is during this realization, that her strength grows and that she wants to be free from him forever. Receiving Nettie s letters and finding out that she is still alive gives Celie hope to go on in the chance that they