Evolution of the Characters in Alice Walker's Color Purple Essay

Decent Essays
Evolution of the Characters in The Color Purple

The most important aspect of The Color Purple is the growth and maturity of each individual. There is a huge transition of many of the characters from the beginning to the end of the novel. This evolution of the characters is a recurring theme that runs throughout the novel and can be tracked by Celie’s letters. The women struggle for freedom in a society where they are inferior to men. Towards the end of the novel one can sense the slow evolution towards the increasing empowerment of women.

The strongest example of women’s empowerment is Celie’s character. She’s a victim of racism, men, sexual roles, and social injustices. Celie begins the novel completely powerless,
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(lamda, 1) Shug’s character symbolizes the independence these women had at a time when the independence of a black woman was nonexistent. Many women blues performers sang about breaking away from traditional society and gaining their liberty. For example, Bessie Smith’s song, ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do (Bessie Smith Collection, Track 2), she preaches.

The use of names throughout the novel is also a way to show the power roles between the characters. This can be seen by the fact that Celie is unable to call Mr. _______ by his first name, and in fact hardly even recognizes the

name when Shug uses it. By not calling Mr. _______ by his first name Celie lacks any power over him and is forced into her role of a submissive wife.

As time goes on Celie is finally able to break away from the coercion of her life and leave her husband. She starts her own business sewing pants, which is one way she indicates her freedom. This highlights the fact that she has gained more individuality and is willing to assert herself. She has now become able to recognize the importance of her existence. Celie proves this when she writes, “I'm pore, I'm black, I may be ugly and can't cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I'm here."

At the end of the novel Celie has finally created a permanent life for herself. The way she interacts with the other characters and attitude towards things has
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