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The Color Purple: Literary Techniques Employed by Alice Walker to Develop Celie's Character.

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Introduction

The Color Purple: Literary Techniques Employed by Alice Walker to Develop Celie's Character by Hialy Gutierrez September 12, 2002 "It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood. I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That's how I know trees fear man," (23) uttered the protagonist of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Such words of meekness were characteristic of Celie's speech � that is, in the beginning of the novel. As the novel progressed, however, Celie's acquiescent behavior transformed into one of resilience and dignity. By incorporating the literary techniques of tone, symbolism, and juxtaposition into her novel, Alice Walker was able to develop Celie's character, emphasizing her progression from subservience to independence. Tone serves as an important device in personifying a novel's character. Such is the case in The Color Purple. In her subservient state, Celie responded little, if at all, to the abuse she was exposed to. For instance, Celie stated in a despondent tone that whenever she had been forced to enter into sexual intercourse, she would apathetically yield, allowing either her Pa or Mr. ______ to "git up there and enjoy himself just the same. No matter what I'm thinking. No matter what I feel. ...read more.

Middle

Yet, the pants not only enabled Celie to become self-confident, but also to become self-sufficient. It was through her pants factory that Celie was able to acquire independence from financial assistance from Shug and Mr. _____, despite the discouragements of Mr. ______: "You not getting a penny of my money... not one thin dime. Nothing up North for nobody like you... All you fit to do in Memphis is be Shug's maid... you nothing at all." (208, 212-213) In order to progress out of subservience, it was necessary for Celie to gain a sense of self-esteem. Celie was able to obtain this through Shug's religious notions. Shug was able to instill in Celie the concept that God is an inward force that gives meaning to everything that exists in nature, including the unobtrusive color purple. Because the color purple is often unnoticed and neglected in fields, it symbolizes Celie in her submissive state. After adopting Shug's religious ideals, Celie was able to fully appreciate nature. Moreover, Celie was so convinced that she possessed a bond with the earth that she believed she was able to "curse" Mr. ______ through the power of nature's "trees, "air," and "dirt." (213-214) Accompanying Celie's newfound appreciation for nature was Celie's appreciation for the color purple and, therefore, her own existence. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the novel progressed, the similarity between Celie and Harpo lessened, while the contrast between Celie and Shug and Sofia became less distinct. With the encouragement of Shug and Sofia, Celie was able to shun the submissive lifestyle that she and Harpo once lived. "You ought to bash Mr. _____ head open," (44) Sofia urged, willing Celie to break out of her passivity. At the same time, Shug inspired Celie to view love, life, and God with a new perspective � a perspective that impelled her to be "at peace with the world." (255) She also granted Celie the money she needed to establish her own pants factory. The assimilation of the influences brought on by Shug and Sofia, thus, enabled Celie to become the individual she deserved to be � an independent, confident, and resilient woman. "I'm pore, I'm black, I may be ugly and can't cook... but I'm here," (214) Celie declared assertively towards the end of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Such words of audacity were not always characteristic of the protagonist's speech. In the early chapters of the novel, Celie clearly demonstrated a submissive temperament. Towards the end of the novel, however, Celie achieved a sense of self-respect. Alice Walker was able to effectively detail this achievement of independence by incorporating the language techniques of tone, symbolism, and juxtaposition. ...read more.

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