Themes in "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

Essay by niki113090High School, 10th grade February 2007

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Jean W. Ross said of Alice Walker's novel's that she, "introduces many of her prevalent themes, particularly the domination of powerless women by equally powerless men." What Ross is trying to say is that in Alice Walker's writings, she often shows how oppression exceeds the color of her character's skin, but also explores how women are oppressed by men. This allows for the building of a separate theme, strong female relationships, because, as an oppressed, double-discriminated minority, the women in the novel must learn to care of each other and fend for themselves. This is true for the novel The Color Purple.

The novel opens with an opening letter where we discover that the main character and protagonist of the story, Celie, was beaten and raped by her father, Aphonso. By having such a bold beginning, we see how Celie's life has been anything, but easy. Celie seems to think of herself as worthless because she is, in fact, an African-American woman.

The first notable attempt of Celie trying to get a grip on her already difficult-to-manage existence was when she began to tell her sister, Nettie, of her life. Before doing so, she told Nettie, "You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy" (Walker, 1). This quote shows that she has mustered up the courage to tell someone about her life's experiences. It also begins to explore the theme of strong female relationships, which seems to be a recurring theme throughout the story.

The relationship between Celie and Nettie is extremely strong for different reasons. One being that they are the only direct relatives they know of. This is shown through Nettie's letter to Celie where she writes, "...and I pray with all my heart that you get this letter, if none...