Examine the ways in which Walker uses the symbolism of sewing in "The Color Purple" to reflect Celie's spiritual and emotional development.

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A major symbol that reoccurs throughout the novel 'The Color Purple' is the practice of sewing. This activity is one that several of the characters participate in, and for Celie it represents a way of channelling her energy and anger. It also allows her to bond with other females, creating strong relationships and giving her a sense of freedom and independence from the male dominance that has clouded a large section of her life. The quilt, an ongoing pursuit for Celie, is one of two main examples of sewing in the text, the other being the eventually profitable vocation of making pants. It is this supposedly marginal and unimportant labour of women that is representative of Celie's spiritual and emotional development - as she grows as a person so does the quilt, and what she creates become more substantial in size. This parallel between the act of sewing and Celie's personal growth can additionally be compared to the epistolary form of the novel and how this too relates back to sewing in the text, the letters become more extensive as Celie develops as a person, similar to the size of the quilt.

The overall significance of this practice upon the 'The Color Purple' is that it acts as an outlet for Celie's frustration; it allows her control and power over something whereas, before she has always been the subordinate, it encourages her independence and opens up channels to her to form solid relationships with others.

The significance of the quilt in the novel 'The Color Purple' is that it is a symbol of sisterhood, with the most profound element of this activity being the promise of creating unity amongst inconsistent elements by establishing connections and bonds in the midst of...