The Color Purple Essay Research Paper Wilson

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The Color Purple Essay, Research Paper Wilson, 1 Katie Wilson Ms. Allen English 11, 3 10 June 2000 The Color Purple Change over time was a theory that was first realized by the Greeks and, only thousands of years later, accepted as fact. As time goes by, things change. And this change is never more evident than in human growth and development. But what is it that causes human metamorphosis to occur? Oftentimes, the change comes from within, simply the innate desire to improve oneself. Other times, the transformation is directly the result of outside influences; such as a significant event or inspiration from respected individuals and role models. The latter is the case in Alice Walker?s The Color Purple. In this novel, Walker uses the influence of other strong female

characters to act as catalysts on Celie?s journey of self-discovery. Inspired by Sophia, Celie is able to establish her independence from her abusive husband. Celie knows she is controlled by Mr.___ and acknowledges this when she ??think ?bout how every time (she) jump when Mr.___ call (her)? (Purple, 38). Celie?s weakness is justified, considering that male domination is a constant in her life. Passed from one chauvinistic man to another, women in subordinate roles is all she knows and can relate to. As put by critic Donna Wilson, 2 Winchell, ?At first fighting back does not even seem an option, survival seems the best she can hope for, in this world at least? (86). However, witnessing the relationship between her son-in-law Harpo and his wife Sophia brings Celie to the

realization that such abuse is not necessary and instills in her the desire to stand up for herself. This is evident in Celie?s envy of Sophia?s strength towards Harpo; ?I say it because I?m jealous of you. I say it because you do what I can?t? (Purple, 42). Celie longs for the courage she finds in Sophia. Years of abuse has made her feel that she cannot assert her own independence, and that she is powerless against her husband?s controlling ways. This desire to improve, coupled with the encouragement of Sophia, moves Celie to assert herself. Sophia persuades Celie to stand up for herself; ?You ought to bash Mr.___ head open, she say. Think about heaven later? (Purple, 44). She emphasizes to Celie that she needs to start caring about the life she is presently living. Sophia tries

to make her realize that she doesn?t have to put up with the way Mr.___ treats her. And, finally, Celie is able to find it within herself to leave Mr.___; ?You a lowdown dog is what is wrong, I say. It?s time to leave you and enter creation. And your dead body is just the welcome mat I need? (Purple, 207). The opposition Celie exhibits is the first time she directly stands up for herself. Her defiance shows that she realizes that Mr.___?s treatment of her is inappropriate, and she is no longer willing to put up with such abuse. She finally Wilson, 3 finds the confidence and power to take the first step to break away from the restraints of her old life and start over on her own. Celie?s ability eventually to stand up and leave Mr.___ is also due in part to her ?discovering a

definition of God that is large enough to encompass even the poor, ugly black woman that she feels herself to be? (Winchell, 86). This growth is initiated by ?the arrival of Shug, (which) is the final turning point in Celie?s search for identity? (Barret). Love is noticeably absent from much of Celie?s life. The men in her life have never lost an opportunity to remind her that she is worthless; ?But what you got? You ugly. You skinny. You shape funny. You too scared to open your mouth to people?You not that good a cook either? (Purple, 89). This kind of verbal abuse, attacks, not only on her physical appearance but also on her person, is an everyday part of Celie?s life, leaving her with a minimal sense of self-worth. In addition, the only people that Celie has ever loved, her