Essay title: The Color Purple – Roles
Throughout the novel Celie is consistently presented with new ways of thinking about things.From the very beginning she was abused physically and mentally, to the extent that she saw these types of incidents as normal occurrences.Her Father used her as a solution to having a wife that could not provide for him, most specifically, sexually.
However, not only was this sexual abuse so profound by the mere principle, the way her father treated her was as if she was an abused wife.From her letters we learn of times when she was punished for instances of contact with other men, and for trying to make herself feel beautiful. After so much abuse for trying to act in a way she saw as appropriate, the role she is ascribed is the one she accepts.For most of the novel she accepts herself as a servant of the men around her and believes their words when they put her down and demean her mentality and attractiveness.This kind of torment leads her to believe that she is the things that she is described as and this is a role that she begins to fulfill.In an environment such as hers it is easy to circum to the environment and believe only what is shown to her.
It is assumed that she knows nothing else.Celie’s attempts at intelligence are belittled in the same way that her attempts at beauty are.She is told that she is unintelligent and is restricted to living her life accordingly.One concept to point out is that these struggles with sexuality, morality, and intelligence come about much earlier than any normal girl would experience.Having her second child at the age of fourteen proves that she has become a woman by means of responsibility and intelligence long before it would be expected.
However, the people that surround her and affect her way of thinking take precedent over the way her mental development would naturally progress. Typically, a teenager uses their experiences to grow and understand the facts of life.In what you might consider a normal circumstance, these choices of understanding and reasoning would be left up to the individual and only slightly influenced by the opinions of others.In Celie’s case, those around her are guilty of so much sin that the things they teach her are not only professed, but impounded into her way of thinking.
As with the treatment of her father which inevitably carries on to her relationship with Mr.____.The two men treat a teenage girl as if she is an indentured servant.In the ways they abuse her and try to inflict their ways of thinking, they assume that what they do is right and it is the best way to make use of her.With this being the case, she assumes her role to be that which they ascribe.
Psychologists have made many determinations on the nature of development based of a child’s surroundings.This is again an attribute that would assume she was placed into her way of thinking by simply the events she has experienced.I believe that in Celie’s case it is something more treacherous.She is the victim of ascribed roles.While psychology would explain her way of thinking, it seems that her experiences with the men in her life forced a way of thinking on her that counts out chance and the process of psychological events.For example, a source on childhood abuse says that “Guilt is universally experienced by almost all victims. You can describe the "sexual guilt" as "guilt derived from sexual pleasure" (Pandora’s).While Celie feels she is inferior and this may be the case, I believe Alphonso and Mr.____ acted with a goal of defining the way she was to think, rather than just allowing the process of time and environment to take place.If Celie were aware of the roles she was being forced to endure, with fortitude and strength she could have overcame them sooner.However, she was naïve to what was being forced upon her and her experience with Sofia proves just that.For example, when Harpo was having trouble getting Sofia to be subordinate to his rules, in her attempt to help Harpo she suggested the same inflictions she has endured.There is no rightful explanation for this other than believing that what was suggested was right.It was not apparent that she felt deep animosity toward Harpo’s wife, which would be one way of explaining her push for his actions.Therefore, she assumed that it was just the way of handling a situation such as that.Shug.