The Color Purple Literature Assignment 1
Alice Walker published The Color Purple in 1982, although the book was set in the early 1900’s. The time is set in the early 1900’s because racism and sexism was a significantly greater widespread problem. Alice Walker vividly portrayed the theme of racism by using setting, harsh language, and the letter format.
The setting and time period of the novel creates instances in the atmosphere where racism is usual, creates disagreements, and affects people’s decisions. Racism is common and apparent in society during the early nineteen hundreds, which justifies the characters actions and discriminations against both women and African Americans. Celie notices Shug and observes, .She busy looking at a magazine. White women in it laughing, holding they beads out on one finger, dancing on top of motorcars. Jumping into fountains,” (Walker, 1982, p. 51.). Racism is apparent in propaganda and everyday life, and racism is not prevented in this period. Therefore, the message that Walker was attempting to convey was offered because of the atmosphere. Without the setting that displayed racism being ordinary, the message wouldn’t have been as powerfully displayed. The theme of racism is created by the setting and time period, which creates disagreements in the novel. Sofia and Celie are in the car, and Sofia notices, “Have you ever seen a white person and a colored sitting side by side in a car, when one of ‘em wasn’t showing the other one how to drive it or clean it?” (Walker, p.106, 1982). The roles for colored and white people were not altered. Hence, problems were created, and the plot was shaped based on the problems offered by the setting. People’s decisions and the plot are affected by the theme of racism. Nettie compares her life in Africa with the Olinka, a tribe in Africa that Nettie and her fellow missionaries visit, to her life in America with white people, “They’re like white people at home who don’t want colored people to learn,” (Walker, 1982, p. 157). This confirms that the people in America during the early nineteen hundreds didn’t want colored people to learn. This means that the decisions made by all of the characters were influenced by the racism prominent in this period of the United States.
The harsh language that the characters use shapes the environment and setting of the novel to reflect racist thoughts, actions, and convey the severity of racism in this environment. The harsh language used by the characters in The Color Purple reflects racist thoughts to express the gravity of the situation that hasn’t been addressed in that time. Nettie noticing the popular views of people in the South, “Not only were Africans savages, they were bumbling, inept savages, rather than their bumbling, inept brethren at home,” (Walker, 1982, p. 238). This illustrates the extremity of prejudice, and because of the language used, the theme was more obvious. This intends that what people perceive of colored people is...