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The narrator and protagonist is a young girl named Celie. She tells her story of her life in a series of letters to God. Celie lives with her father and her many siblings. Her father rapes Celie constantly and gets her pregnant twice. He takes away both babies from Celie and she doesn’t know where they are or what happened to them. Celie and her bright younger sister named Nettie try to make the best of life with what they have, and love each other more than anything in the world. One day Mr. comes to ask for Nettie so that he can marry her. Alfonso the father of Nettie and Celie says that he can never have her but that he could take Celie. Mr._ agrees to take Celie, and they get married.
Celie and Mr._ relationship is terrible; Celie is abused by Mr._ and by his children. Mr._ has a lover named Shug Avery; he loves her and beats Celie just because she isn’t Shug. Nettie finally has the courage to run away from her father and seeks refugee with Celie and Mr._ . This only last for a short time because Mr._ still tries to win Nettie. Nettie runs away with promises to write to Celie.
Harpo, Mr._ son, falls in love with a large, outgoing, powerful woman named Sofia. Sofia becomes pregnant and then marries Harpo, much to his father’s displeasure. Sofia is a defiant woman and will not bow down to Harpo. When Harpo tries to beat her into submission, she wins.
One Day Shug Avery is in town and falls ill. Mr._ takes her into his house and tries to care for her. Shug, at first is very rude to Celie but soon they become friends. Celie also becomes sexually attracted to Shug and develops feeling for her. Sofia moves out with her children because of Harpo continuous attempts to break her. Harpo then opens a Juke joint where the improved Shug sings at. Celie becomes more confused in her feelings for Shug
When Shug learns that Mr._ beats Celie, she decides to stay. She tries to help Celie and their relationship becomes stronger and Celie becomes less confused and lets her feeling toward Shug come out. At the same time Sofia returns to town and gets into a fight with Harpo’s new girlfriend squeak. She then proceeds to be thrown in jail after sassing the Mayors wife. She is then sentenced to be the mayors maid for twelve years. Shug decides to leave and tell Celie goodbye.
Shug returns after a period of time with a new husband. Celie is upset and confused once again. Soon Shug and Celie pick up on their relationship. One day Shug asks Celie about her sister and Celie tells her that she is dead. She assumes Nettie is dead because she never wrote. A few days later they find letters the Mr._ had hidden from years of Nettie writing. Celie begins reading the letters from Nettie and comes very close to Killing Mr._.
The letters from Nettie are from Africa, where Nettie is on a missionary trip. The letters talk about her experiences in Africa and of the family she is with. She traveled with Samuel, Corrine and their two children, Olivia and Adam. There is much tension around the group especially between Corrine and Nettie. Corrine believes that Nettie and Samuel had a previous relationship, and the children were Nettie’s. This then leads to shocking secrets that took everyone by surprise. Nettie figures out that the children are actually Celie's. She also discovers that Alphonso, who is was supposedly their father was not actually their father at all. Celie goes to visit Alphonso who confirms what Nettie wrote in her letters.
Sofia is released for her work and returns home. One night, Celie finally releases her rage and starts yelling at Mr._ for his years of abuse. Shug announces that she is taking Celie, and are moving to Tennessee. In Tennessee, Celie spends her time designing and sewing individually tailored pairs of pants, she becomes very good at it and turns it into a business. Celie returns to Georgia and finds that Mr. is very different and that Alphonso died and now she owns the land and the house.
Nettie and Samuel marry and prepare to return to America. Celie and Mr._ begin to talk now and Mr._ tries to repent for what he did to Celie. Sofia remarries Harpo and now works in Celie’s clothing store. Nettie finally returns to America with Samuel and the children. After an emotional reunion with her sister Nettie, and her children, Celie finally finds her happiness.
By: Megan Wood
The Color Purple
. New York: Pocket, 1983. Print.
"The Color Purple (1985)."
. Web. 04 Oct. 2011. <
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