Abuse, particularly when it comes to black women, often occurred in the early twentieth century. The novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker touches on the abuse Celie endures as a child, and expands upon the struggles she continues battling throughout her adult life. With a husband who carries on an ongoing affair with the mother of his children, Celie comes to the realization that her husband had been hiding letters addressed to Celie written by her sister Nettie from her for years. Shug Avery and she rescue the letters and read the fascinating story that unfolds.
In the beginning of the book, Celie first acknowledges the activities her father coerces her into, and she also briefly mentions her mother before her unfortunate death. Celie’s sister Nettie then brings home a man she would like to marry, but Celie marries the man out of her father’s obligation. She moves in with the man and begins caring for the household and managing his bratty children. The son, Harpo, marries Sofia and they live in a smaller house right next to Celie’s housing. Harpo believes that women are meant to always obey their husbands, so he attempts to beat her the way Celie s beat, to no avail. Sofia’s bullheadedness forces her into jail when she challenges the mayor’s wife, whom she is later the maid for. Shug Avery, the mother of Celie’s husband’s children, falls ill, and Celie and her husband end up taking her in. Celie and Shug grow to be extremely close as Celie is nursing Shug back to health. Once Shug becomes aware of the existence of the letters, she informs Celie and the duo retrieve the letters and open them, putting the envelopes back in their hiding place. Celie and Shug read about the escapades Nettie had been through on her journey throughout Africa and discover many things about Celie and Nettie’s life.
Celie overcomes many obstacles put in her path at a young age throughout the course of the book. At the young age of fourteen, Celie begins her adventure when she writes her first letter to God, asking for a sign from Him: “Maybe you could give me a sign letting me now what is happening to me” (Walker 3). Celie lacks power and confidence; she is used to being pushed around and does what she is told. She doesn’t like what her father is doing to her, but she lacks the ability to stand up to him and tell him to cease his actions. She gets married off to a man who abuses her as well. Due to the fact that she was raised to be beaten by men, she accepts her fate until Shug Avery comes around. Shug gives her the drive and devotion to stand up for herself, eventually ending in Celie escaping from the grasp of her husband and going to live her own ambitious life. Celie advanced from a powerless and oppressed young lady to an empowered, independent woman ready to take on the world.
Shug Avery, at first a bitter and conceited woman, transforms into a new woman as well. Celie meets Shug for the first time when Celie’s husband brings Shug home. At this first...