The Color Purple

The Color Purple

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker is a novel that provoked numerous discussions not only among literary critics but also sociologist, psychologists and others. Basically, this is the result of the importance and diversity of issues raised by the book. In this respect, it should be said that the book is focused on the life of African Americans, mainly females, in the early and mid-20th century. It is necessary to underline that the book actually depicts a panorama of the life of African Americans in the US of that epoch and, at the same time, reveals numerous socio-cultural and psychological problems many African Americans faced.
Basically, the main character of the novel, Celie, has faced abuse and discrimination since the beginning of her life. Being a teenage she is forced to sexual relationships with the man she believes to be her father. In spite of her early entering adult life she turns to be in an extremely disadvantageous position because she is totally deprived of any rights and simply obeys to the will of other people who dominate over. At first, it is her presumable father, Alphonso and, later her husband, ‘Mr._’ whom she is forced to marry.
In fact, her early life is characterized by a profound psychological trauma. In the result of sexual abuse and permanent humiliation and discrimination her self-esteem is extremely low, she is not sure in her own power, and feels her inferiority in relation to other people. In this respect, racial issues are particularly important since she get used to view white people practically as gods or supreme beings she cannot rebel against. This is probably why she finds it really shocking that an African American woman, Sofia, refuses to obey to the white man, the man in power, the mayor and refuses to work for him, and what is more being hit she returns the blow. This episode apparently symbolizes the rebel of a few African Americans against long-lasting discrimination and humiliation.
As for the main character her psychological state is deteriorated by her loneness since she has lost her sister, Nettie. In such away, Celie is a humiliated, abused, discriminated and lonely young African American. Her psychological trauma is aggravated by physical abuse. Physiologically, she, typically to many African Americans, matured early and faces the problem that many African Americans teens at the epoch faced – the problem of teen pregnancy, which though does not make her a happy mother since the two children she born are taken from her.
However, it is necessary to underline that the problem of Celie is not just discrimination and humiliation causing low self-esteem and other psychological problems but also the lack of education. In fact, since adolescence she leads an adult life and has not a single chance to get educated and, therefore cannot learn her rights and the ways of their protection. Obviously, education could be a kind of safe boat that would save her in the ocean of injustice. Basically, education could give her larger opportunities in life. For instance, she could find a job and lead an independent life. In such a way, she could become an independent woman, while in the novel it takes her many years to change her life completely and it is only with the help of the positive experience of other African Americans, including her sister, she becomes conscious of her rights and her self-esteem increases consistently.
Thus, the novel depicts the life and evolution of an African American woman who has got a profound psychological trauma and physiological abuse and because of her low socio-economic status and lack of education is unable to immediately change her life fore better. At the same time, her life and transformation may be viewed as a symbolic evolution of African American community in the 20th century. The problems the main character faces are typical to many African Americans but the end of the novel and examples of resistance of African Americans indicate to positive experience of their struggle for their rights and better life opportunities.

References
Walker, A. (1996). The Color Purple. New York: New Publishers.