Regarding the Book

Essay by bhulabhai October 2002

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Analysis of The Color Purple

Alice Walker's depiction of a southern black woman in the novel The Color Purple was the most powerful I've ever read in my life. One reason this was so was because Walker applied a variety of literary devices to the story, giving it more of an impact. She used symbolism, applied her tone as an author, and used a specific dialect for her characters, all in letter form. It's important to the author to use these devices in their novels, especially if they are trying to convey a certain message or issue to their readers. A particularly weighty one at that. If it had not been for the vivid vernacular placed upon her southern-born characters or the use of written letter form as an alternative to the form frequently utilized in novels, this story wouldn't have left such a mark or rather, a stamp, on my soul.

The appearance of symbolism in The Color Purple is not as glaring to the readers' eye as one may think. Though you don't read the actual words of the title until towards the end of the book, Alice Walker didn't just pluck the name of her award-winning novel out of thin air. On page 291, Celie is showing Shug her completely purple and red room. She even shows her a little purple frog perched on the mantlepiece, carved for her by her husband Albert. I am not sure of the exact significance of the actual color purple in this context, but the use of any color at all at this point in the story symbolizes a character growth in Celie. Through a good chunk of the book she is living a drab and colorless life, exhibiting no emotions of her own. Not until her husband's previous lover,