Alice Walker's The Color Purple: Celie's Struggles Expressed in Letters
Gets me out of here. I needs to love and laugh. I needs to be free of this bastard and these white people."
At a very young age, Celie begins writing letters to God. In her letters she explains her fears about her stepfather raping her, her mother and sister being beat, and her fears for her sister, Nettie. This epistolary novel (a novel in which the narrative is carried forward by letters) takes place during the early twentieth century, where slavery still existed in the South, and black people lived discriminating lives. Even though many black Southerners formed tight-knit communities, physical, mental and sexual abuse was still brought on to many of the black women living in the frame of male civilization. In The Color Purple (1983), Alice Walker portrays these harsh realities and struggles through the letters of a young woman named Celie.
Celie turns to God after her father says, "You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy" (1). This passage was used by Celie and was the first noticeable reach for her to tell someone about her life. Celie essentially becomes an object that has no power to assert herself through action or words. By incorporating the literary techniques of voice through the letters, Walker was able to develop Celie's character, emphasizing her growth from a voiceless girl that wouldn't stand up for herself, to a strong minded women that gained independence, dignity and love.
Tone can serve as a very important device in personalizing a character. At the...