Alice Walker's "The Color Purple". Essay

1156 words - 5 pages

Few have taken the road of life without crossing a river of struggles. For most, life revolves around hardships and struggles. How one handles a struggle often defines a human being. A refusal to struggle is a refusal to live. Surrender and submission are the easy way out. Life requires something deep within the human heart to bring out the ability to fight. In The Color Purple, Alice Walker uses a weak, battered individual named Celie to represent what it takes to fight, to live, and to be free. Celie begins as a withered spirit, living under the spell of submission. Not until Shug Avery, a vivid spirit, introduces the power of love into her life does Celie learn how to fight and overcome her soul's submission, one struggle at a time. In The Color Purple, Shug Avery teaches Celie how to overcome her weakness by opening up her heart. She learns to love, and with this love comes the strength and ability to fight for freedom, as well as the ability to teach others how to fight for life.In her early days, Celie doesn't truly live because she is too weak to fight her struggles. She is passive and obedient, allowing herself to be pushed around by those who should love her most. As a teenager, her sister is ripped from her arms, screaming and crying for Celie to fight back, but all she can say to herself is that " I don't fight, I stay where I'm told" (22). She is being stripped from her own flesh and blood, and still, she says nothing. Though she recognizes her weakness, she has no ambition. Her heart is empty, giving her no motivation to fight back. When Harpo, Celie's stepson, asks how to deal with Sophia, his disobedient wife, Celie replies that he should beat her. Enraged and disappointed, Sophia asks Celie why she betrayed her. Celie's weakness forces her to "say it cause I'm a fool, I say. I say it cause I'm jealous of you. I say it cause you do what I can't," which is to "fight" (42). Instead, she remains passive, living a monotonous life cleaning her husband's house, tending her husband's field, and raising her husband's children. Her presence goes almost unnoticed. Like an inanimate object, "she never say nothing back. She never stand up for herself" (43). Without something present in her life love, Celie lacks the motivation to live.Eventually, Celie's motivation arrives, ironically, as her husband's lover, Shug Avery. Celie's obsession with Shug begins as an infatuation, and grows into a sensuous relationship. Shug is a strong, defiant woman, and defends Celie's character. Celie feels nothing when she is with her husband, as if her life "stop with Mr. _____ maybe, but start up again with Shug" (85). Celie recognizes a change within herself, allowing her to reveal things about herself to Shug that only God knew. God had been Celie's emotional outlet. However, one day, in the midst of a deep conversation with Shug, Celie started "to cry. I cry and cry and cry" about the sexual abuse she received from her stepfather (117). Slowly, Celie's...

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