How does Alice Walker present Celie and Albert in the 'The Color Purple'

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How does Alice Walker present Celie and Albert in the ‘The Color Purple’

“The Color Purple” written by Alice Walker is a bildunjiroman novel which focuses on the life developments of Celie, a poor Black American woman in the prejudice deep south of America in the beginning of the 20th century. This is done through an epistolary form with letters from both Celie and her separated sister Nettie. Most of the letters by Celie are addressed to God however like Celie’s personality, knowledge and outlook on life this changes as the novel progresses. Celie is subject to both racism and sexism yet overcomes them both to reach eventual happiness. She begins the novel in enslavement but she eventually attains fulfilment and independence.

Celie’s husband who is mysteriously named “Mr ˍˍˍˍ”, but then later revealed to be called Albert, is enslaved in a different way. Instead of open prejudice he is subject to a society that expects barbarism towards woman to prove masculinity. His father disallows him to marry the woman he loves, Shug Avery, due to her bad reputation and as he is dependant on his father he must do so, similarly to how Celie is dependant on Albert until she eventually breaks away. However as the novel advances like Celie, Albert is able to change himself and feel like a “natural man”. As the novel is written in epistolary from, from the perspective of Celie it is generally her life that is the main theme. However, Albert is a key character when observing Walkers comments on the unnecessary and wrong socially constructed gender roles. The similarities between the two characters situations show the bonds between them from very early on in the novel.

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The use of Black American English is clearly a conscious and prominent decision by Walker. As the characters speak in the non-standard form of English she is able to remind the reader of the socio-historic context of the novel which is of course a relevant and highly important feature of the novel. By creating the language as realistic to the characters she is able to bring the novel to life.

The novel opens with Celie as narrator; she is a fourteen year old suffering from sexual abuse, pleading to God for an explanation as to why he is ...

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