Book vs. Movie

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Celie's Character

In the novel, Celie's character was more hard-working and less independent. Celie did each and everything that was demanded from Mister. Rarely, did it talk about how Celie had much of a personality at all. In the film, this was different. Celie was often seen laughing or giggling about something that Mister was doing. She was never working out in the fields slaving over all the work that had to be done. Also, Mister only beat Celie one time in the film while it was a daily thing in the book.

I think that the book portrayed Celie's character better than the movie did, while I think the film showed more of how Celie was feeling on the inside as she wrote in the journals. But because of Celie's more developed and independent character in the movie, viewers are unable to grasp the internal pain that Celie fights through each and everyday without Nettie, and viewers are unable to grasp the type of relationship that Celie and Mister have.

Shug and Celie's Relationship

This was probably the most significant difference between the novel and film. In the novel, the Shug and Celie's relationship was much stronger than in the film. For example, in the book, Celie was perceived much more as having a huge crush on Shug and the whole first part of the book was Celie talking about how gorgeous this "girl named Shug" was, which led to the climax of the book once Celie first encountered her. But the longer their relationship, the stronger their relationship got, in which Shug would start visiting and staying longer not to see Albert but to mainly see Celie. Also, in the novel, they were much more intimate where the book explicitly had multiple sex scenes involving Shug and Celie where in the movie, it was hardly even implied.

I do not think that the film showed justice on just how Shug and Celie's relationship was. In the movie, when Shug was leaving to go on the road to sing, Celie ran up to her wanting to find the words to say to go with her, but she ended up making a fool out of herself because Shug just made jokes, and Celie's feelings for Shug didn't seem reciprocated by Shug. Also, the film never showed how Celie had lived with Shug for months spending every hour of every day with her neither did it show how Shug helped Celie to start making a living and an income off of stretchy pants. Overall, this was the biggest difference and one that impacted the entire movie because the film did not grasp the full intimacy of their relationship and just how close they were.

Corrine and Nettie's Relationship

As Nettie is in Africa being a missionary with Corrine, her husband, and two kids, which are later found out to be Celie's kids, Nettie writes a lot about how uneasy Corrine is with her. Everyone in the village would ask Nettie if Olivia and Adam were her kids because they looked alike. They would ask Nettie if she was married to Samuel, Corrine's husband, and the older Nettie got, the more she would get asked these things which made Corrine very self-conscious. As Corrine is on her death bed, she repeatedly questions Nettie to whether or not she had met Samuel before and had sexual relations with him. She was convinced that Adam and Olivia were Nettie and Samuels. Eventually, Nettie figures out that Adam and Olivia were Celie's.

In the film, the producer made it look as if Corrine and Nettie were best friends, but in the novel, Nettie repeatedly stated how she didn't think that Corrine liked her at all. Corrine was very jealous of Nettie, and their space was very clear throughout the author's words until the very end as Corrine is dying, she tells Nettie that she trusts and believes her about Samuel, Olivia, and Adam. This is very important to leave out because the viewer is unable to grasp all of Nettie's personality without her encounters in Africa.

Shug and her Father

In the movie, one of the very first encounters that Shug and Celie have is when Celie is bathing Shug and she starts to talk about her father. She has a mental breakdown while in the bath tub which is the first time that Celie starts to truly express intrest for Shug. As the movie comes to a close, Shug is singing a song and stops in the middle of the song to start another gospel song. As she starts to sing it, the church starts it too. Shug and all of the people start walking towards the church, and as the preacher whom we come to realize is Shug's father, make eye contact, they run into one another's arms.

In the book, this never happens. Most of the emphasis is put on Celie and her relationships with others. The movie helps to give the viewers background on why Shug is the way she is and why she acts certain ways. Shug's dysfunctional relationship with her father is never shown to make Shug seem more of an invincible and more independent character.

"God is trying to tell you something." - (The Color Purple)

Squeak Visits Jail for Sofia

In the novel, Sofia is sent to prison for showing disrespect to the Mayor's wife and then punching and knocking out the Mayor. When in prison, Sofia is beaten severely and the book describes how awful her conditions but how badly her children need her. Everyone tries to devise a plan to get Sofia out of prison. Squeak ends up admitting that she is the niece of one of the white prison guards, so they all try to dress Squeak up as good as they can to look more like a white person to try to talk her way out of getting Sofia out of jail. Hours later, Squeak comes back in a ripped dress limping because her uncle brutal raped her and beat her. None of this is in the movie, as the movie just skips from Sofia punching the Mayor to her working for his wife anyway.

I think the novel did better in portraying what actually happen because it shows more of Squeak's genuine personality and just how the "white" people could do whatever they wanted and get away with it because of the color of their skin. Also, it emphasizes just how long Sofia was in prison being beaten, mistreated, and separated from the only thing that she truly loved with everything she had, her children. It was horrific about how cruelly Sofia was treated.

Mister's Sisters

In the novel, Mister's two sisters, Kate and Carrie, come to visit Mister's house. As they visit, they see how hard Celie works for Mister and his kids, and they also see how poorly she gets treated. They repeatedly tell Celie to not let any of them run her over. They demand Harpo to start helping Celie and demand that Mister buy Celie a new dress. This whole scene is left out of the movie. In the novel, as Mister's sisters are leaving, he starts growing tired of their demands and gives both of them scares that cause neither one of them to ever return.

This is significant that I think that the producer should have left in the movie because it helps portray just how cruel Mister really is. His own family is scared of him, and he does not care about anything other than himself. He helps to show that no matter who you are, with the exception to Shug, if you correct or tell Mister something that he did wrong, he will beat you, or there will be consequences.


My personal opinion towards the book and the movie is that the movie missed out on many essential parts of information in regards to the characters' personalities and their relationships. Also, there was more emphasis in the book about towards the actual bi-sexual relationship that Shug had and the passion that Celie had for her. The movie left out too many essential parts to the story while adding other emphasis on insignificant scenes. The movie was very well directed, and I thought that all of the actors and actresses really portrayed the characters well. Most of the blogs I read liked the movie better than the book, but I think that that was due to the fact that the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won many awards. It was a great movie, but when compared to the novel, I think that the novel was better.