• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comment on the growth of Celie's character throughout The Color Purple.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Comment on the growth of Celie's character throughout The Color Purple The Color Purple is a Bildungsroman novel which charts the growth of protagonist Celie through letters; primarily from her to God, but later to her sister Nettie. Its epistolary nature means the narration of The Color Purple is frank and confessional and Celie's development is shown from her perspective. Walker takes her protagonist on a journey towards self-actualization. The idea of self-actualization originates from Dr. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs. Maslow pioneered the concept that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs. We have basic needs which must be satisfied before we can fulfill the higher needs. His hierarchy begins at the fundamental physiological necessities for survival such as food and shelter. It then moves to the need for safety in a stable and predictable environment. Next is the need for love and social acceptance, fulfilled by affection and intimacy from others. Then the need for self-esteem, which include confidence in oneself and respect from others. Finally, Maslow argues, an individual needs to reach self-actualization, which is defined as "discovering and fulfilling ones potential". Celie's growth as a character very much parallels this basic hierarchy. The novel opens with an innocent description of Celie's rape by the man she believes to be her father. Although addressing God, Celie describes him grabbing hold of her "titties". ...read more.

Middle

Sofia refuses to play the role of submissive wife which society attempts to force upon her, and Harpo cannot overcome his embarrassment that their relationship does not cohere to the conventional model of marriage he sees around him. The next stage in the hierarchy of human needs, safety within a stable environment, is provided for Celie when Mr ____'s mistress Shug Avery moves into their house. The town is disgusted at Mr ____'s behaviour, but Celie is unconcerned. She feels no affection for Mr ____ and has long been fascinated by the idea of meeting Shug. Despite Shug's original hostility they become friends. With Shug there Mr ____ no longer beats Celie or has sex with her, and she settles into their unconventional family life happily, relishing being around the captivating Shug and dreading the day she will leave and Mr ____ will revert to his original behaviour. She confides her fears with Shug, telling her "He beat me when you not here" and Shug promises "I won't leave...until I know Albert won't even think about beating you". Shug and Celie grow increasingly closer, and their relationship offers Celie love and affection she has never before received. Shug forces Celie to question ideas she has previously accepted blindly, and through this Celie lbegins to form an identity for herself. They discuss sex, which Celie admits she has never enjoyed. ...read more.

Conclusion

From the moment she leaves Mr ____ Celie's future begins to slot into place. She discovers that her "Pa" was in fact her stepfather. When he dies she inherits the large house and goods store which was owned by her real father. Nettie returns with the children Celie's Pa gave away many years earlier, and they all live together in Celie's house. It is easy to criticize the ease with which Walker concludes the novel, ensuring that Celie's life has a somewhat unlikely "happy ending". But if the reader approaches the novel as an allegory for female empowerment then the ending is far more satisfactory. The men within the novel represent different social pressures placed upon woman by conventional ideas and stereotypes. Pa is the idea that all women are sexual objects to be used by men. Mr ____ is the insistence that a wife should be submissive and obedient to her husband. Harpo is the difficulty men have with overruling social conventions and inventing their own rules to life. The sudden improvement in her life doesn't happen until she achieves self-actualization, and so her inheritance and her pant making business can be seen as the power women will discover once they become empowered. Celie's growth would not happen within the influence of the women she meets, and their close friendships allow them all to grow and develop. This sisterhood represents the necessity for women to be strong and to help each other if they wish to achieve anything. Kate Egan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Alice Walker section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Alice Walker essays

  1. The differences between the novel by Alice Walker, "The Color Purple" and the film ...

    life, for example pieces of her father�s checkered bib, the dress she was wearing when raped, Nettie�s blouse she left behind and Shug�s dresses. Ms. Walker wanted the scenes to look like this: "As she works totally absorbed, cutting, placing, contemplating, sewing, we should have the feeling that in putting

  2. 'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker shocks us with rape and violence.

    Sam also has a very positive attitude he helps Nettie when she arrives at Olinka and treats her like family. Men such as Mr____ and Harpo are capable of loving but they have to learn how to show their true feelings.

  1. An Analysis of Daughters of the Dust and The Color Purple using Black Feminist ...

    It is set in the Sea Islands of the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia in the summer of 1902. It looks at the experiences of the indigenous Gullah women in the Peazant family. According to Dash's extensive research the Sea Islands were the first and main dropping-off point for

  2. Alice Walker's depiction of men in The Color Purple has been controversial. Explore the ...

    main male characters we are presented with are antagonists who are abusive for the majority of the novel. Brown may see the novel in this way because he would feel defensive. It is easy to jump to the defensive when it seems we are being accused of something we see

  1. Compare and contrast the ways the authors use first person narrative to present the ...

    'Bailey, if you let her do that, you'll be sorry' It comes across as if Maya is worrying that Bailey will experience what she did and also this sense of the memories of her rape has had. Angelou includes this as it conveys the affects the rape had on her

  2. In Love and Trouble- A Book of Women with Triple Burden

    She claims herself to be an authentic African and dresses herself in the so-called authentic African style and using an African name, but all these are due to the fashion. She is still confused with her own identity. Lots of Chinese-Americans are confused and struggle with their own identity, in the same manner as Dee.

  1. The portrayal of women in The Color Purple has been controversial. Explore the ...

    When Celie finds out that "pa is not" their "pa" Celie feels resurrection and rebirth because she finally confronts her past that Pa had also taken away from her. Another character who we see frustrated by the struggle for independence by male domination is Sofia, Harpo's wife.

  2. The Color Purple is too concerned with the personal experiences of Celie to be ...

    which is not only powerful and striking, that it gives voice to common rather than individual experience. Walker's portrayal is mirroring the reality of the modern world as the portrayal of youth and innocence is crushed by adult male brutality.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work