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What do we learn in the first 10 letters of the Color Purple

What Do We Learn in the First Ten Letters of The Color Purple?
Although slavery was abolished in 1863, following the American Civil War, people's attitudes towards black people in the Southern States, remained very much the same. Beatings and lynching were common (in The Color Purple Celie's father was lynched because his business was too much of a threat to his white rivals) and black men, in a desperate attempt to gain some sense of power would often abuse their women, both mentally and physically and this led to a complete loss of self respect and confidence in nearly all black women. Celie is a perfect example of a typical black woman during this era. She feels isolated and the fact that this is an episodic novel shows this effectively to the reader. As a result of nearly all women being illiterate, and ignored by the world, they did not have a way of voicing their opinions and feelings and in The Color Purple Alice Walker gives a voice to these women. However, this novel also shows women beginning to question their role in society and leaving their lives of hardship and violence to make a living for themselves, gaining the respect of many members of the community.
The dramatic opening immediately creates a feeling of loathing in the mind of the reader toward the violent, sex-driven Alphonso but it also gives us an insight into what life was like for black women during the early 1900's. In letter one, Celie's lack of knowledge and understanding of sex, her bad use of grammar and mistakes in spelling make it quite clear that she is uneducated. For instance she doesn't recognise her feelings of nausea whilst cooking to be signs of pregnancy.'And now I fells sick every time I be the one to cook.' Another thing we can see is that black men had no respect for their women and used them merely for sex and housework.'He was pulling on her arm. She say it too soon, Fonso, I ain't well. …


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