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Mr. __ / Albert
Danny Glover as Mr. ____
"Cause I don't know the Albert that don't dance, can't hardly laugh, never talk bout nothing, beat you and hid your sister Nettie's letters. Who he? I don't know nothing, I think. And glad of it" (Walker 117).
Name: Mr. __ /Albert
Albert takes Celie as his child wife in the beginning of the novel and he is the main antagonist of the story, constantly abusing Celie sexually, physically, and emotionally. He was married before Celie, but mistreated her because he was pining after his mistress, Shug Avery, but everything changed when his first wife was murdered. He originally intended to marry Nettie, but settled for Celie instead (although that doesn't stop him from making advances on Nettie anyways, which prompts her to leave). He uses Celie in every way imaginable and forces her to raise his children (notably including Harpo) who hate her for not being their real mother, while hating her himself because Celie is not Shug Avery. It is only because of Shug Avery that he begins to treat Celie better at all. By the end of the novel, he has undergone a transformation and becomes friends with Celie.
When Albert was a young man, he was in love with Shug Avery but he was under the oppressive thumb of his father and instead chose to do what he was told and married his first wife, who bore his children. He became the brutish, sexist man he saw his father be, neglecting his children and beating Celie regularly to make himself feel more in control of everything. Although Celie puts up with him for years and years, it is not until it was revealed that he has been hiding Nettie's letters for years that she finally leaves him. Albert is shocked because it is so far out of his realm of understanding, his patriarchal mindset that Celie even can stand up for herself or be independent at all. He fails to recognize his wrongdoings to her or realize she is so unhappy.
Without Celie or anybody to take care of him, he is forced to take care of himself and through this, he softens. Interestingly enough, he begins to take on the traditionally 'feminine roles' he expected Celie to perform, like caring for his children and grandchildren, sewing, housework, etc. He manages to apologize to Celie earnestly and begins to understand his wrongdoings and by the end of the novel, Celie and Albert are genuinely friends.
As the antagonist for the majority of the novel, Albert is no stranger to abuse. The cycle is seen in three generations involving Albert- his father abuses him by forcing him to do what he wants, such as marrying his first wife instead of Shug Avery who he actually has feelings for. He abuses his first wife by neglecting her and beating her for being Shug as well as forcing her to bear his children. He marries Celie and forces her to do his housework, yard-work, and care for his children as well as beating her and raping her at his whim.
The cycle of abuse continues onto his son, Harpo, who is advised to beat his wife just to make her listen to what he says even though Harpo loves her. Albert's abusive actions are the result of his cultural learnings, but it is no excuse for what he has done. He goes as far as making sexual advances on Nettie and then later hiding Nettie's letters for years in vengeance. Abuse has played a large role in his life.
--page by Jacqui Wunderlich
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