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Book Review – The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, an American writer is an Epistolary Novel which has taken a form that is inhospitable to the oral cultures. Walker has portrayed a society which is an outcome of certain historical and cultural repercussions. Therefore, it places the whites in a dominant position over blacks and literacy in a dominant position than oral expression. The whole narrative also emphasises on the love between women, sisterhood, parenthood and the male dominance leading to the rupture of the women’s voice.

The writing style of the Novel is the predominant factor that starts to develop when the reader flips the very first page of the very first letter. There is a letter that is addressed to the God, the Almighty in a language that is not written in the accepted English Standards. Wrong grammar, inappropriate syntax of the sentence and misspelled words in the letters written by the protagonist, Celie depicts “the language of the Black Folks” as is highlighted by the author, Alice Walker. Letters written by Celie to the God are non-dated letters which makes it difficult for the reader to figure out the time frame of the novel setting. The first 51 letters are written by Celie addressed to the God for self-actualization and oral expression.Another 38-40 letters are written by her long lost sister Netti tracing the Afro-American and African History. There are unrevealed gaps between the two letters, sometimes 5 years and sometimes Walker herself doesn’t mention the date of the letters. The writings are bold and portray an unquestionable innocence which is brought about by the powerful writing that Celie adopts to write. The voice that Celie uses in the whole text is the resistant narratological voice.

The story revolves around a woman called Celie who is a Black Georgia girl and is married to a person who referred to as Mr._____ and is later unveiled as Mr. Albert (Son of Alphonso, ‘Pa’).Celie is a regular victim of repeated rapes, impregnation and deprivation of a voice. Celie’s mother used to stay unhealthy due to which she used to take care of her sister and love her unconditionally. Celie kept her sister busy with books to let her escape from the shackles of sexual dominance that was coming her way after Celie during Netti’s childhood. After the separation from her sister, Celie could find the satisfaction, the love, the acknowledgement of her own corporeal aspects because of Shug (Shug Avery, the mistress of Celie’s husband). Shug came as a catalyst that brought Celie to a level of self-actualization due to which she bonds better with Shug. Her separation from Netti invoked Celie to maintain a journal of her letters and adopt writing as a therapy be it written as a non-standardised English. After the unveiling of the fact that Mr.____was responsible to hide all the letters that Netti was writing for Celie, she started to resist her constant violence (rapes) leading to  the bewilderment of Mr. Albert. Celie then started living with Shug Avery and started working as a seamstress and got her alternate language established in which she could eat, drink, bathe, etc. with freedom.

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