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Meanwhile, Nettie and Samuel marry and prepare to return to America. Before they leave, Adam marries Tashi, an African girl.

Following an African tradition, Tashi undergoes the painful rituals of female circumcision and facial scarring. In solidarity, Adam undergoes the same facial scarring ritual. As Celie realizes that she is content in her life without Shug, Shug returns, having ended her relationship with Germaine. Nettie and Celie reunite after 30 years, and introduce one another to their respective families as the novel ends.

Though the novel has garnered critical acclaim, it has also been the subject of controversy. It is 17th on the American Library Association 's list of most frequently challenged or banned books. Celie is the main character of the novel.

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Banned Book: The Color Purple | Politics and Prose Bookstore

She is shown to have experienced abuse at the hands of men for most of her life: she is routinely beaten and raped by her supposed father, with whom she has two children during her adolescence and whom he gives away. He later gives her away to be married to Mister, who is in love with Shug Avery, a blues singer. When Shug comes to recover from an illness in Mister and Celie's home, being disowned by her minister father and nowhere else to turn, it leads to an intimate relationship between Celie and Shug.

Celie and Shug's relationship later develops a romantic and sexual dimension culminating in their sleeping together, this being Celie's first positive sexual experience. Shug has a significant influence on Celie, who begins to draw inspiration from Shug's independence, leading her ultimately to her own independent attitude. Shug not only influences the way that Celie allows Mister to treat her, but also shows Celie that actions deemed sinful by others may not truly be evil or transgressive and that they do not prevent one from believing in and living for God, thereby broadening Celie's views on religion and ethics.

Celie initially writes to God

It is also Shug who frees Celie from Mister's bondage, first by loving her, then by helping her to start a custom sewing business and abandoning running Mister's household and helping with raising the children. From Shug, Celie learns that Mister, now revealed as Albert, has been hiding letters written to her by her sister Nettie, who is in Africa working as a missionary. These letters, full of educated, firsthand observation of African life, form a moving counterpoint to Celie's life.

Nettie is Celie's younger sister, whom Celie loves and saves from living the tragic life that she had to endure. Because Mister deems Nettie prettier than Celie, he is interested in marrying Nettie, but settles for Celie. Nettie runs away from home to be with Celie, but is unable to stay with Celie as Mister tries to sexually assault her.

As a result, Nettie leaves home. Before leaving, she promises to write to Celie and tells her that only death can keep them apart. Nettie is eventually taken in by Samuel and Corrine, a missionary couple she travels to Africa with on missionary work. While in Africa, Nettie becomes the caregiver of Samuel and Corrine's children and faithfully writes to Celie for decades.

John Doyle’s fresh and vital revival of “The Color Purple.”

Nettie marries Samuel after Corrine's death and moves back to America with what are revealed to be Celie's biological children. Through explaining her experiences to Celie, Nettie encourages Celie to be more enthusiastic and optimistic about life. Nettie finds that while there is not racial disparity in Africa, gender disparity exists.

The women of the tribe are not treated as equals, and are not permitted to attend school.

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A sultry blues singer and preacher's daughter who first appears as Mister's mistress, Shug becomes Celie's friend and eventually her lover. Shug remains a gentle mentor who helps Celie evolve into an independent and assertive woman. At first, Shug doesn't appear to be the mothering and nurturing kind, yet she nurtures Celie physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Shug helps Celie discover the letters from her sister Nettie that Mister had been hiding for decades. In allowing Celie to view these letters, Shug supplies her with even more hope and inspiration, letting Celie see that in the end, everything works out for the best. Mister is the man to whom Celie is married. Originally, he seeks a relationship with Nettie, but settles for Celie. Celie's Pa tells Mister that she is ugly, tells lies, and that she'll come with a cow. Pa also tells Mister that Celie would make a better wife than Nettie. Mister mistreats Celie just as her stepfather had, although Celie does not understand that she doesn't have to tolerate the abuse.

Mister needs Celie to help raise his children while he ran the farm. The children give her a hard time because she was not their biological mother nor did she consider it her job.


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When Shug Avery comes to town, Mister falls for her and makes her his mistress. Through Shug's seductive influence, Albert begins to treat Celie better. In the end, Albert realizes that he has mistreated Celie and seeks a friendship with her and Celie does seem to reconsider. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in Though nominated for eleven Academy Awards , it won none. This perceived snubbing ignited controversy because many critics considered it the best picture that year, [14] including Roger Ebert. LaChanze did win the Tony Award, though the show itself won no other awards.

LaChanze's win was attributed to the variety of roles for which she had garnered positive attention, as well as for a powerful backstory. In April , Fantasia Barrino took over the role. The Broadway production ended its run on February 24, The Revival on broadway lasted between and and starred Cynthia Erivo as Celie. The show is now on tour across North America. Delete Cancel. Please log in to add your comment. See more popular or the latest prezis. Download Cancel.

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Start presenting Close. Get started. Log in. Walker wrote The Color Purple in the early s, and it brought her a great deal of immediate attention and fame. Walker continues to write novels, short stories, and poetry, a good deal of it inspired by her early-life experiences growing up in rural Georgia.

Banned Book: The Color Purple

Download it! Historical Context of The Color Purple Alice Walker was active in the American Civil Rights Movement, a momentous effort, beginning around , by blacks and others that sought to remake the nature of black and white interaction across the United States, and most specifically in the South. Although the Civil War had been over for nearly a century, many African Americans were made to experience humiliating and devastating discriminatory laws Jim Crow laws , which made it impossible for black people to use the same water fountains, lunch counters, and bathrooms as white patrons.

These laws also made it difficult for African Americans to obtain educations at white-dominated state universities, and to vote for and indeed win elected office. The author perhaps most often included in a conversation of Walker's work is Toni Morrison, whose novels, like Walker's, deal intricately with issues of racism, gender, and self-identity among black populations in the United States. The Color Purple 's consideration of women, sexuality, and power dynamics between whites and blacks is also reflected in the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, active during the second half of the twentieth century, and in the novel Roots , by Alex Haley, which was later made into an acclaimed television miniseries in the s.

Cite This Page. MLA Chicago. Schlegel, Chris.