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Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: “The Color Purple” as an Epistolary Novel

The Color Purple's structure is one of the major advantages of the book's overall success to readers and critics alike.The book is a powerful first person narrative, written in letters whose "voice is predominately Celie's." This form of writing is also known as "epistolary form" ("The Color Purple" 5:56). Some Critics such as Jerry H. Bryant has said that in Alice Walker's writing, "I can feel the heat of her characters' lives, smell their singed bodies going up in literal and figurative flames of their own making. That is when i lose touch with myself as a critic and interpreter and enter Miss Walker's created world of love and trouble" (Bloom 197). Celie is the person who drives us through the story, but we only see things from her perspective. Basically, she narrates thirty years of her life living in the deep south, which ranges from her "childhood to her maturity as an independent woman" ("The Color Purple" 5:56). Celie's narration is unique because it is written in "black folk English" which allows the reader to understand and correlate with the "qualities and rhythms of life that Celie's character experiences" (Magill 2750). The author's technique simply brings the reader closer to her character and allows us to "read over the character's shoulder and look inside her" ("Alice Walker" Contemporary 476). This does make the book somewhat more complex and intricate. Although, Robert Towers in Black American Women Fiction Writers praises her complex writing style by saying, "I find it impossible to imagine Celie apart from her language; through it, not only a memorable and infinitely touching character but a whole submerged world is called into being." We, as readers, feel more saturated and involved into deciphering Celie's character. Reader's can picture the gentleness and innocence of this character and we can hear her voice resurface through every page of the novel.

The Color Purple is an incredible book. You’ve probably heard about it already. It is the Pulitzer Prize winning by Alice Walker from 1982. It is the Academy Award winning with Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Whoopi Goldberg. It is the Tony Award winning Broadway starring Fantasia from American Idol. 33 years later and it’s message is still just as poignant, just as piercing, just as alive.

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"Compare/Contrast of The Color Purple and A Streetcar Named Desire". Anti Essays. 14 Nov. 2017

this novel. The color purple itself is a significant symbol. It is first mentioned when Celie goes shopping for a purple dress. “Somethin purple... But us look and look and no purple.” (28) Purple is the color of royalty. It can also represent luxury, wealth, romance, feminism, passion and sophistication. The fact that Celie could not find any purple material represents all the above attributes that she cannot associate with herself. She ends up buying blue material. The color blue is cold and…

The book I read that night was Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

Marvin, Thomas F. “Preachin’ the Blues: Bessie Smith’s Secular Religion and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.” African American Review 28, no. 3 (Fall, 1994): 411-422.

The Color Purple Analysis Literary Devices in The Color Purple

Harris, Trudier. “From Victimization to Free Enterprise: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.” Studies in American Fiction 14 (Spring, 1986): 1-17. Focuses on the movement from domination to liberation in Walker’s female characters.

Mood: The Color Purple is written in a mood of endurance with an underlying sense of wonder and hope. Despite the existence of oppression in poverty, racism, and sexism, the main character, Celie, maintains a sense of her own dignity and when given the opportunity opens her heart fully to love.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Vulgarity and Violence in “The Color Purple”

Analysis of the Color Purple essays

Willimon, William H. “Seeing Red over the Color Purple.” Christian Century 103 (April 2, 1986): 319. Highly negative review of the film and novel versions of The Color Purple. Author considers the characters stereotypical, dishonest portrayals of black Americans.


The Color Purple print Print; ..

Watkins, Mel. “Some Letters Went to God.” The New York Times Book Review, July 25, 1982, 7. Comprehensive review of The Color Purple consisting of analysis of theme and technique. Author notes the weakness of Nettie’s stiff voice, yet praises the effective implementation of epistolary style.

The Color Purple - Essay Alice Walker

The only person who ever loved her was Nettie who also narrates segments of the story as a missionary in Africa which contrasts Celie's life. Celie's dialect suggests that she's uneducated and Nettie shows more intelligent thought patterns and yet she deals with the same feelings of emotional resentment. This resentment builds up all through the story because of the strong prejudice against women. Another important, yet controversial, theme is feminism. The Color Purple incorporates the idea of women fighting and holding their own against men and racial violence. Shug Avery said, "All my life, I had to fight" (Walker 40). Then, Nettie goes on to say, "The world is changing. It is no longer a world for boys and men" (Walker 161). Robert Towers has also commented on the book's portrayal of feminism by saying, "Miss Walker exposes us to a way of life that for the most part existed beyond or below the reach of fiction," but he also mentions, "I cannot gauge the general accuracy of Miss Walker's account or the degree to which it may be colored by current male-female antagonisms within the black community---controversial reports of which from time to time appear in print" (Bloom 200). Alice Walker has been known to be a "feminist and a supporter of civil rights." So "her work focuses directly or indirectly on the ways of survival adopted by women" such as events of racial discrimination, "physical and mental abuse", "a lack of responsibility for men" and trying to keep their own "stability" (Magill 2748). Although, Gerald Early criticized Alice Walker's feminist context by saying, "The Color Purple is an inferior novel not only because it seems so self-consciously a "woman's novel" and its guilty of being nothing more than a blatant "feel-good" novel and fails the ideology that it purports to serve" (Harold Bloom). The book certainly is more faithful to the good morals and the hardships women face in their lives. The deception of black men as "male-bashing" and having unforgiven hospitality is one of the novel's strong criticism ("Alice Walker (b.1944)").

Learn all about how the characters in The Color Purple such as Celie and Nettie contribute to the story and how they fit into the plot

Walker, Alice. Living by the Word: Selected Writings, 1973-87. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. These essays provide an opportunity to get to know Alice Walker as a person. The earlier volume provides numerous insights into the writing of The Color Purple, the latter on Walker’s reactions to its reception.