Recurring Themes in the Color Purple

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A reoccurring theme in the book, The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, is the theme of women being discriminated against and used by men. This theme presents itself several times in the book because the story is set in a sexist and racist society in which women were seen by men as only good for housework and sex. The protagonist of the story, Celie, starts off the book as a black girl who is taught to be compliant and to fear men, and throughout the story learns to become a woman she herself admires. The story is written in such a way that it is understandable but the exact setting of the book remains a mystery; however, the stereotypical sexist and racist society doesn’t. The book is written as letters to Celie’s God and are written in first person from her perspective. The first letter is the first introduction to Celie’s family hardships. At this time, Celie is a fourteen year old girl whose mother is unwell because she has had too many children, and so her father rapes Celie while her mother is out visiting the doctor. Celie is then pregnant simultaneously to when her mother is sick and nearing death. After Celie gives birth to her first baby, she believes her father took the baby and killed it in the woods while she was sleeping. This is all explained in Celie’s second letter to God, in which she also explains, “She ast me bout the first one Whose it is? I say God’s. I don’t know no other man or what else to say…Finally she ast Where it is? I say God took it.” The fact that Celie says that she doesn’t know any other man but God or what else to say shows indirectly that Celie is not or at least will not be heterosexual, because when responding to her mother, she talks about God in such a manner that comes across as meaning that she loves no other man but God, and God is the only man she is not afraid of. Further evidence of this is brought up when Celie’s father
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