Celie's Transformation in The Color Purple

Essay by yoohoo03High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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In The Color Purple, Alice Walker tells the story of Celie, a young black girl growing up in Georgia. In a series of letters to God and her sister Nettie, Celie tells the story of her life ranging from the trauma of sexual abuse as a child to her true happiness and independence as an adult. Throughout the book, Celie undergoes an inner transformation from a submissive, abused wife to an unabashedly confident and independent black woman and businesswoman.

The first chapter of The Color Purple introduces an uneducated, fourteen years old girl who is oppressed from freely expressing her thoughts. The novel opens with a warning: " You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy" (1). This threatening statement introduces a "long pain-stricken letters" addressed to God about the sexual abuses from her stepfather (CLC). Celie is afraid to tell anyone about her rape and is almost voiceless at this point of the novel.

In the film The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg portrays the young Celie as an innocent girl who just smiles and smiles (www.suntimes.com). Yet,

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this is not the end but only a beginning of emotional and physical hardships she will go through to find her identity.

Through habitual rapes and abuses, Celie is completely dominated by Pa and loses the ability to control her own life. For example, when Pa beats Celie because he thinks she winked at a boy in church, she is even afraid to say that she had something in her eye, the truth (6). After giving birth to two children by her Pa, he instantly took them away from her and gave them to the wife of a missionary who was unable to have children (7). Pa's cruelty continues to oppress Celie by...