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The Color Purple
          For this book talk, I read Alice WalkerÕs The Color
Purple which is a work of fiction. I came to choose it because I
saw the movie version which was excellent, so it inspired me to
read it.
          This book focuses on the life of the main character,
Celie, who is a 14-year-old girl at the beginning of the story.
She is raped by her father and then forced to marry Mr.___ who is
much older than she. She always calls him simply Mr.___ because
she does not love him at all, and she is afraid of him, too. She
becomes a submissive and quiet woman, and her life is grim and
sad. Her sister, Nettie, who she loves the most, is kicked out of
their home, and they cannot meet or speak to each other again.
Mr.___ does not love Celie at all and just wants her to work and
take care of his children since he is already in love with
another woman, Shug Avery. Shug, who is a local singer, falls ill
and comes to his house to recuperate. Thanks to CelieÕs care,
Shug recovers soon, and they become very close friends and
lovers. Shug protects Celie from Mr.___Õs abuse and inspires her
with the courage to speak up. After Shug comes to her house,
Celie feels happy for the first time in her life, but she still
worries about her sister, Nettie. With ShugÕs help, she finds out
that Mr.___ has been hiding NettieÕs letter, so Celie becomes
very upset. She finally stands up to Mr.___ and leaves his home
to pursue her own life. While She stays in ShugÕs house, she
learns to make money by making pants and obtains her own home.
Now, all she hopes is to meet Nettie again. According to NettieÕs
letters, She has been a missionary in Africa, and now she plans
to come back to America to see Celie. However, Celie receives a
telegram which says the ship Nettie left Africa in has been sunk
by torpedoes. Celie refuses to believe Nettie is dead, so she
continues to write letters to her hoping to see her again. For
the prospective reader, I wonÕt tell you whether Celie meets
Nettie again or what happens to her later.
          The title of this book, The Color Purple, refers to the
color of the dress which Celie wants to buy but cannot because of
Mr.___Õs suppression of her in the beginning. However, It becomes
the color of the pants Celie makes for other people later on
symbolizing CelieÕs spiritual resolve. This title refers to
CelieÕs change in her character because it is a symbol of control
at first, but it indicates her ability to make her own choice at
the end. It is also closely related to the theme of this book,
which is a womanÕs personal struggle for freedom in a society
where African Americans, especially women, were looked upon as
         The movie version, which was made in 1985 and received
11 Academy Award nominations, is also great, but there are some
differences. Notably, the movie cuts out many scenes and stories,
and the most obvious differences are the omission of many scenes
about Nettie and the other people with her in Africa. As a
result, Nettie does not seem to be a central character in the
later part of the movie. Even though it is somewhat difficult to
follow because the movie also cuts out many stories about the
other characters, it helps a lot to understand its backgrounds.
Therefore, I would recommend that you read the book first for
these reasons.
         The style of this book is very unusual because it
consists of 90 letters written between Celie and Nettie. Their
letters tell us two separate stories, but they are loosely
connected. Because Celie is not well educated, her letters
contain many misspelled words, which are sometimes illegible but
also keeps the readers interested.
          The most impressive part in this book is when Celie
speaks up against Mr. ___. She says to him (and I quote) "You a
lowdown dog is whatÕs wrong. ItÕs time to leave you and enter
into the Creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I
need. You took my sister, Nettie away from me. And she was the
only person love me in the world."(end quote) CelieÕs life
becomes completely different after this major change, which shows
why we have to fight against injustice in our lives. I enjoyed
this book very much, and I would recommend it to every one
because I think it is one of the best books I have read.
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