The Color Purple

By Alice Walker

Racism/ Transcending Racial Stereotypes

In the novel there are many examples of how Celie and her family and freinds are treated due to Racism and their skin color. An example in the story that shows how racism was in this time period is when the Mayor's wife, Miss Millie and Sofia got into a fight in the town. This is all started when Miss Millie was looking at Sofia’s kids and touching them in the town. Miss Millie then said to Sofia, "All your children so clean, would you like to work for me, be my maid?" (pg. 85). Sofia did not like this at all and she said, "Hell no." The Mayor then intervenes between the two woman and he asks Sofia what she said to his wife; Sofia again says hell no. The mayor then slapped Sofia and Sofia fought back. The police then came to the scene of the fight and they arrested and beat Sofia. They took her off to jail and when Celie, Mister, and Harpo went to visit her, they realized she was all bruised and cut up. Celie decided to take care of her so she was not like that in jail and Celie then says, “The colored tendant bring me water to wash her with." This whole scene shows how African Americans in this time period were still viewed as servants to white people. Also the last scene in the chapter is when the colored servant brings water to Celie when she is visiting Sofia in the jail; showing how blacks were being treated as servants. A character who overcame Transcending Racial Stereotypes is Celie. An example of her overcoming racism is when she starts a company that makes pants. Since most African Americans were not supposed to own their own business, especially not African American woman, it shows how Celie over came Racial stereotypes and became successful.

Sexism/ Transcending Gender Sterotypes

In the Novel there are many examples of the topic sexism. An example of how it plays a role in the story is Harpo and Sofia’s relationship. When Harpo and Sofia first got married their relationship was very good. Yet as time went on their relationship began to have a tension because Sofia was not doing what a wife should do, according to Harpo. Harpo began to be Sofia because she was not doing as Harpo said; which angered him a lot. One night Celie found him crying. Harpo explained he was upset because Sofia beat him up and he said to Celie "I want her to do what I say, like you do for Pa" (pg. 62). Harpo is being sexist towards his wife Sofia because he thinks that all women should listen to the men and do as they day. As one can see Harpo is showing sexism in this scene. A character who overcame being stereotyped as a woman who was bossed around is Celie. Starting at the beginning of the novel Celie is bossed around by her Pa. She was forced to have sex with him and forced to take care of all her brothers and sisters. When Mister came along and tried to then marry Celie's sister Nettie and he was not allowed to Celie was then forced to marry and live with Mister. She was bossed around by not only him but his kids as well. Yet then by the end of the story, Celie rose above Mister and began telling him what to do when she had her pants business.

The Power of Female Friendships

In the novel the character Shug Avery, who is a famous singer and Celie have a strong and powerful friendship. Celie's husband Mister was always in love with Shug Avery and even had kids with her awhile back and when Shug got sick, no one would taker her in; Mister did. When Shug arrived to Celie and Mister's house the first thing she said to Celie was, "You sure is ugly" (pg. 46). Celie is then like a servant to Shug for awhile and always dos as she says. As time goes on Shug and Celie begin to get close with one another.

Works Cited

"Pants!" Flickr. N.p., Mar. 2010. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. <

"A Stroll In the Park." Flickr. N.p., June 2009. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.