Essay title: The Meaning of Beauty and the Color Purple
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not”-Ralph Waldo EmersonAs stated by Emerson, beauty cannot be found unless carried within one’s self first. In the novel by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple”, Celie finds out that beauty is not real unless it is first found within, so that that beauty felt can reflect for others to see.
Celie went through traumatic struggles before she ever felt beautiful starting with the treatment of influential men in her life. Although she felt more connection with women in her life, her early encounters with Shug greatly accounted for her self worth at the time. However, Celie could not be beautiful to others unless she found beauty within herself, for herself. For the majority of the novel, Celie was never told she was or could be beautiful by men, she was told how much of nothing she was to them. Beauty was something Celie learned was for women who enjoyed having sex, something for women who had confidence, which was something she could never feel for herself.
She was constantly mis treated and told what to do by men like her father and Albert. The book opens with her being raped by her father. He tells her to tell nobody but God, and she begins to be scared of saying “no” to men, she feels she needs to take the abuse, Celie would “be wood” because wood does not feel pain. Her father dominates and makes Celie feel like she was bad, like she did something to deserve this. She felt she was worth little because she should allow her father to do thing like this to her.
She felt controlled, dominated and therefore subordinate to men. Her self worth had gone from little down to nothing, and she was told by her father how ugly she was. Not only had her father told her she was ugly, Shug Avery also took it into her own hands when attempting to make Celie feel ugly.
Celie began to feel even worse when she first met Shug Avery, and the excitement she had to see Shug, was ruined as a dark shadow hovered over Celie, making her feel more ugly than she had ever thought. Shug Avery was spoken about by Albert like some kind of Goddess. She was the epitome of beauty for Celie because Albert had spoken about her so fondly.
However when Shug first came to the house, and Celie wanted to change her dress, and clean herself up to look good when she saw the “famous” Shug, the first thing Shug said when she looked at Celie, cackling was “You sure is ugly”. Not only did Celie feel her smile turn to a frown, she felt horrid about herself. Somebody she hoped.