In 1983, Alice Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. My cousin sister had given me this book a couple of years ago. I got around to reading it last week.
Written as a series of letters, The Color Purple traces the life of Celie in the American South. She is a Black girl raped by the man she calls ‘pa’ who also fathers her two children, then married to a man who treats her like a slave and then separated from the only person she loves – her sister Nettie. She then meets Shug Avery, the woman her husband loves but Shug Avery helps Celie discover herself and helps her stand up for herself. Shug tells Celie “Why any woman give a shit what people think is a mystery to me.” which is the line that finally sets her free from her life of abuse.
It is a story of self-discovery set amidst abuse, racism, religion and women empowering each other.
“There’s something in all of us that wants a medal for what we have done. That wants to be appreciated.”
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”