Metamorphosis of Celie in The Color Purple
In the book The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker, the main character Celie develops from an abused, shy and browbeaten teenage girl into a strong, mature and self-confident woman. This metamorphisis is due to five major factors: Celie observes other successful women, she receives love and appreciation, changes in Celie’s view of God, Celie’s maturation and a bit of luck.
As Celie is brought up, her father sexually molests her over and over again, making her pregnant twice. And as a girl of fourteen, she has to marry an older man named Albert. Albert also bullies Celie as well as beats her. Celie does not know how to fight back. “All I know how to do is stay alive”, she says (18). But some things start changing around Celie. Being married to Albert, she meets other women that show her different ways of fighting back.
Sofia, who is married to Albert’s son Harpo, is a big and strong woman. Whenever Harpo tries to beat Sofia up in order to make her obey him, Sofia always fights back, even harder. Celie looks up to Sofia, and the knowledge that a female can physically strike back is strengthening for Celie.
Another woman that shows Celie that women can and are allowed to be successful is the singing queen Shug Avery. Shug is a well-known singer that almost every man admires. She, therefore, has the power to control them. Once again Celie is being taught that a woman can succeed and rule over her own life.
The third woman that has an important role in Celie’s life is her own sister, Nettie, who is living away from Celie most part of her life, but who anyway stays in contact with Celie through a number of letters. Nettie was always said to be the most clever, good and beautiful of the two sisters when they were young, and she sure seems to be the luckiest one. Nettie works as a missionary together with a family of four in Africa. The children of the family are actually the very ones that Celie had with her stepfather. There are ups and downs in Nettie’s life too, but as a whole, she is leading a funnier, wealthier, and more varied life than Celie. Nettie is more educated and she sees a lot of the world through her travels. Celie loves her sister and Nettie’s happiness is Celie’s. Through Nettie, Celie gets another example of a woman that has succeeded.
Having had an ill mother that died when Celie was quite young and having been abused by both her father and her husband, the only true love that Celie got in her life before she met Shug was the one coming from Nettie. Nettie always tried to convince Celie that she was pretty and worth something, but Celie did not really take the credit for those words until Shug said them, and what is even more important, until Shug made Celie feel that those words came straight from the heart. On one occasion, Shug dedicates a song to Celie in front of an audience and Celie writes in her diary “First time somebody made something and name it after...