The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The Wizard of Oz: Interviews with the Cast
Olivia Abbott and Aniyah NelsonApril 7, 2024

Archives

The Color Purple: A Story About Finding Self Worth

The Color Purple: A Story About Finding Self Worth
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52892857-the-color-purple

Very few books encompass African American perspectives and cultures as well as Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple. Written in a sequence of letters, Walker inspires young African American girls to step out of their comfort zones and to become their own people, despite the demands of society. Marginalization, discrimination and oppression are unfortunately all things that the Black community is subjected to each and every day. It is exceedingly important that literature shines light on stories of minorities becoming who they want to be because not only is it necessary to feel seen and heard through protagonists similar to yourself, but having stories of these minorities rising to the top against all odds will certainly set an example for everyday people to follow. The Color Purple is a piece of literature that does exactly this. The book promotes one finding self worth through individuality, especially among young Black women. 

Walker’s novel The Color Purple follows the story of a young Black girl named Celie living in Southern Georgia during the 1900s- a time of extreme racial discrimination. Celie begins to write letters to God as a way to cope with the trauma she has experienced at a young age. The story continues through these letters to God, soon replaced by letters to (and from) Celie’s sister, Nettie. Through these letters, the reader watches Celie grow up and learn the harsh reality of being Black in a time when racial violence and prejudices were left unchecked. However, this does not discourage Celie as she soon finds herself liberated from the demands of a discriminatory society.  

By writing a novel with the main protagonist being a woman of color, The Color Purple brings People of Color to the forefront of media, allowing readers to feel seen and appreciated. Many classical writings are often written by and through the perspectives of white men. The Color Purple combats this stereotype and allows for African American culture to shine through. According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, The Color Purple is often appreciated due to “the book’s remarkable use of Black English Vernacular”. The book was also adapted into a musical and a film, thus giving more opportunities for Walker’s message to reach a broader audience. A review of the movie by The Chicago Tribune discusses the importance of producing media with a focus on People of Color when it says, “That Alice Walker`s novel was filmed at all as a major motion picture is surprising enough, considering the recent treatment of Black girls and women in American movies. During this last summer, of dozens of teenage movies, there wasn’t a single Black female face to be found”.  All demographics deserve to be represented in literature as representation sets good examples that each person can relate to. Having Black voices in the forefront of media will help to provide People of Color with a role model they can hopefully relate to and look up to. With any luck, the successes of The Color Purple will inspire other writers to portray young Black women as their lead protagonist, ultimately creating more opportunities for minorities to feel seen and accepted. Not only does The Color Purple give the microphone to minority voices, but it also promotes independence and individuality despite the marginalized perspectives of society. 

A while into the novel, a series of conversations and encounters with Celie’s friend Shug lead Celie to recognize that she too can be freed from the stereotypes society has set and find happiness in independence. Walker writes, “I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and I can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here” (Walker 318). When taken into consideration the fact that throughout the beginning of the novel Celie had just gone along with what other people wanted from her even if that was not what she wanted in life, this quote holds exceptional power. It is inspiring young readers to be proud of who they are for just being there and being themselves. It shows that there is nothing more important than being true to yourself and simply content with trying your best. Celie recognizes her value in the world through her own eyes rather than the jaded perspective that society holds. It is important for all people, but especially marginalized members of society, to witness the moment when one feels good enough for simply being there. In a review by Smithsonian, it is said that the story is particularly impactful because of “Celie’s character evolution over a span of 20 years as she grows, heals and is ultimately reborn into an independent woman with confidence and self-esteem, despite the domestic abuse, poverty and societal hardships she’s forced to endure”. The story that The Color Purple follows breaks down society’s barrier, showing that no one should be held to certain expectations or standards simply because of their gender or the color of their skin. Celie’s story of liberation and self appreciation will continue to awe readers throughout the course of history, persuading them to reach outside their comfort zone and to take the journey of self discovery. 

The Color Purple is undoubtedly a successful work of writing that has continued to inspire readers well past the date of its publication. If you are looking for a new book to read following a story of self discovery despite society’s prejudiced perspective, The Color Purple is the book for you. Although it may be difficult to read at times due to the serious nature of the topics the book revolves around, it is nonetheless an inspiring story that encourages people to be their true selves no matter what. For those who prefer movies to books, consider watching the film adaptation of The Color Purple as it, too, provides insight into what it means to be liberated from the oppressions and prejudices present throughout much of society. All themes and social commentaries considered, The Color Purple is a fantastic book, musical and film that everyone should consider reading or watching in the near future. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Olivia Weber
Olivia Weber, Scoop Writer
Hi! My name is Olivia Weber. I am a junior here at South and am a writer for the Scoop section this year. I participate in South’s band, orchestra, and cross country and soccer teams in addition to a variety of other activities. In my spare time I like to spend time with my cats and play board games.”

Comments (0)

All comments are moderated. Inappropriate comments violating Glenbard District 87 policy will be turned over to the Glenbard South Administration.
All The Independent Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *