Freedom from Racial Barriers in ‘The Color Purple’ Rape, incest, sex, forced labor, and a little reefer on the side. These are all of the components of a novel by Alice Walker. All of these views are illustrated proficiently in Alice Walker’s third novel, “The Color Purple.” Each one of these aspects had a lasting impression upon the ideals and notions of the time. Walker's writing's helped to break the racial barrier that existed in some people's minds.
One way that the barrier was destroyed was through Walker's depiction of an imperfect black person. If a white person wrote about a less than perfect black person than it was considered racist. Now that a black person is writing about other blacks that are foretaking in acts that are, in their eyes, immoral and corrupt, the subject is brought into a new light. These actions are discussed out in the open, and the idea that all people have their own flaws, is thought to be more fisable. Walker combines all of these issues in her story in a deceptive way. They all are linked together by way of a semi-believable story line with one major overlaying theme.
Prescott sums it up nicely, Love redeems, meanness kills(p74). This is illustrated in many ways in Walker's novel. One perfect example of this is Mr. _____.
Mr. _____, as he is called throughout the novel, was a wife beater, who, having been denied Celie's sister, marries Celie to look after his children. He beats her and rapes her and is just plain nasty to her. Finally, one day, after Celie discovers another mean thing that Mr.
____ did to her, she leaves with her girlfriend to start a new life. Mr. _____ is left all alone. He starts to fall apart.
He becomes afraid of the dark, and just gives up on life. That was his meanness that started to destroy his life. Now, just as Mr. ____ is nearing death, his son Harpo, starts to take care of him. Mr.___ starts to love him again. Now Mr.
____'s life takes a toward revival. He becomes a new man. Once he starts to love his life starts to look up again. His and his son's love redeemed him. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.
And people start to love you back, I bet, I say. They do, he say, surprise. Harpo seem to love me. (Walker, pg.
290) Walker's novel is very unique in regards to style. Her use of black idiom is very effective and adds the extra fragment of actuality and authenticity to the story line. Walker's use of language, especially Black idiom, is masterful and adds poignancy and depth to the narrative.
(Another characteristic of Walker is the inclusion of highly controversial and unique circumstances in her novel. For example, many authors of the time, black or white, would address the idea of either inter-racial or same-sex relations. Walker was an active feminist and her voice and opinions show through in many of her novels. The Color Purple includes many dynamic characters throughout. Mr._____ is a good example of one such character.
In the beginning of the novel he is a mean, strange old man who only marries Celie because he needs somebody to look after his kids. Mr.______ is really in love with her sister, but their father decides that her sister Nettie is too young for marriage so he settles for Celie.
This shows how unfeeling Mr.____ is in the first portion of the novel. He beats his wife and overworks her and rapes her and abuses her. He is an all around bad guy. First he put this thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my *censored*.
When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying you better shut up and git used to it. (Walker, pg.
1,2) However, Mr.____ comes upon a big change in his life when Celie finally leaves him. Mr.____ is left all by himself and forced to survive and maintain himself on his own. Here is where he runs into some problems.
Here is where the big change takes place. Mr.____ changes his evil ways and begins to show some compassion and love. The end of the novel depicts a markedly different Mr.____ then the beginning of the novel portrays. In the end of the novel Mr.
____ and Celie actually have a civilized conversation and begin to see face to face. They become friends and often visit each other's homes and chat on the porch while sewing. Mr.____ look at me real thoughtful.
He not such a bad looking man you know, when you come right down to it. And now it do begin to look like he got a lot of feeling hind his face. (Walker, pg. 280) Mr.____ is not the only character that changes during the course of this novel, Celie also takes a drastic turn in her realm of thinking.
Celie starts out in the beginning of the novel as the slave to her father. First allowing herself to be raped and bearing his children and taking his abuse. Then on to the abuse that her husband, Mr.____ shows towards her. Celie takes all of this treatment in stride, this is the only life that she has known.