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Celie vs. Mr.
This particular conflict of the novel is closely tied with one of our overall messages: abuse. This conflict is not only between Celie and her husband Mr. (Albert). It includes men in general. Back then wives were expected to mind there husbands, that was part of the culture that Celie grew up in. Growing up Celie was regularly raped by the man she believed to be her father, only to discover later in life he was only her stepfather. From then on Celie’s experience with men only got worse. She married Albert when she was young, and neither of them wanted to be married. Almost from the very beginning Albert beat her and talked down to her, and Celie put up with it for most of her life. She took the beatings and the abuse simply because in those times, men were considered to be superior to women. Celie did not know how to defend herself, and even if she knew how she did not have the courage to do so. Celie took the abuse from Albert for years; she succumbed to it and chose to ignore it. Celie was finally able to stand up to Albert because of Shug Avery. Celie told Albert she was leaving, she did not want anything to do with him and she left with Shug Avery. Celie was able to defeat the abuse that came from Albert and she was able to move on to a better part of life.
“You a lowdown dog is what’s wrong, I say. Its ti
me to leave you and enter into the Creation. And your dead just the welcome mat I need… You took my sister Nettie away from me, I say. And she was the only person love me in the world… But Nettie and my children coming home soon, I say. And when she do, all us together gon w
up your ass.”
(Celie to Albert)
Celie vs. God
Throughout the novel Celie also lost her way with God. She was raped as a child, forced to marry an abusive man with unruly children, and her sister was taken from her. As she grew older the abuse continued, and people continued to leave. Celie fell in love in Shug Avery and even Shug left her many times throughout her life to get married or to run away with another man. Celie felt as if she had no reason to believe in God.
“What God do for me, I ast… he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, a lowdown dog of a step pa and a sister I probably wont ever see again.”
(Celie on God)
Celie did not have much hope until the end of the novel. After she left Albert and began her own pant making business Celie’s perspective drastically changed. She and Albert were able to become friends, and Celie began to look at God in a different way. Long after Shug had run away with Germaine and after Celie received the telegram informing her that Nettie’s ship had been sunk on the way home, Celie sat on the front porch of her own home talking with Albert when Nettie came home. It became clear then that at some point in her life Celie had reconciled with God because she began writing letters to God again, instead of only to Nettie. Somewhere along with way she overcame her battle with God and realized that in life, bad things can happen sometimes.
“Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear everything. Dear God. Thank you for bringing my sister Nettie and our children home.”
Celie vs. Herself
Celie’s entire life she had been told that she was fat, ugly, stupid, and worthless. She had an extremely difficult life due to all of the abuse she experienced; the fact that her own husband called her ugly, fat, and stupid did not help matters either. Celie grew up thinking she was worthless, and it took years for her to realize she was not. It started when Shug Avery helped Celie break free of Albert, and the two left for Memphis. There Celie was free of the abuse, she could finally be herself. With her newly found free time, Celie made a pair of pants. Then people began to notice her pants and more and more people began asking her to make them some. Soon after that Celie had her own pant making business. Shortly after that the man Celie had called father her whole life died, and she was left the house she grew up in. Celie had her own house and business; she could successfully support herself and not rely on anyone else. This conflict ties into our theme of self-discovery. Celie grew up throughout her life. She started as a young woman who was afraid to open her mouth, to a strong woman with her own business. Celie broke free of the chains that bound her, so to speak. She realized she really was not worthless, she realized that she is strong and beautiful and that there is a place for her.
By: Jenny Nyberg
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