Book 2: The Color Purple

Selected Quotes: “What he beat you for? she ast. For me being me and not you” (p. 78)

“‘Hard times’ is a phrase the English love to use, when speaking of Africa. And it is easy to forget that Africa’s ‘hard times’ were made harder by them” (p. 145)

Review: In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the parallel stories of Celie and Nettie serve as a lens to explore racism and sexism. The novel also weaves in considerations of gender and sexuality, religion and spirituality, family and love, and colonialism and the savior complex. Through the 1st person narrative style and the letter form, Walker brings the reader in close contact with the events and emotions experienced by her two protagonists. The deliberate ambiguity in the description of some of the events forces the reader to engage with the events to interpret them instead of simply being a passive recipient of the author’s words.

The simple yet poetic language of the novel is indelible and appropriate in light of the characters’ background. While I tend to prefer literature written in proper/formal English, I didn’t find the unconventional spelling and grammar of the novel distracting. My sole criticism of the novel would be that the ending seemed slightly abrupt and felt a bit too nicely wrapped together considering the complex circumstances explored in the previous 200+ pages.

Future reading: I’m hoping to read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to further explore the intersection of power, race, and gender

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