Today’s blog is by guest writer Ronnie Stoner who is finishing his last year at Jefferson Community & Technical College, where he will be graduating with an AAS degree in criminal justice. Ronnie may be contacted at Juvyboy32@gmail.com.
Struggle has been a part of history since the beginning of time. It’s something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, but some struggles may be harder than others. Alice Walker, the author of the book entitled The Color Purple, was raised during the times of hardships in the south and she spent her career writing about women and their struggles. Out of all the work she has done, The Color Purple is the most recognized. Is it solely because it’s a great story? Or is it because people can relate to some, if not all of the struggles the characters faced in this book? Noticeably, people tend to gravitate towards things that are relatable, things that are real. Things that are fictitious are a good escape from, but not a remedy to problems or struggles.
Celie, the main character, was raped as a young girl by her father and was forced to give away the babies that were born from incest. She had been told all of her life how ugly she was as well as being useless and dumb. While being married to a man she was forced to marry, she discovers he has a lust for her sister Nettie. Since Nettie refused the advances of Celie’s husband, she was kicked out and that caused her and Celie to be separated.
Although, those things are sad and may be unimaginable for some, there are so many people in the world now and before who have faced these same struggles if not worse. That is why this story is so relatable. People can readily identify and connect immediately with the main character Celie because they feel her pain and can sympathize with her. It is also believed that the popularity of this book is due to the uniqueness of how the book was written. The book was written as letters from Celie to God, and some letters Celie wrote to her sister Nettie. Celie hoped that Nettie would one day return to her and her hopes came true at the end of the story. Nettie is saved from having to face the difficulties and tragedies that Celie had to face, but she was terribly missed by her sister.
Usually when in a struggle, you constantly wonder when will there be an end, or a light at the end of the tunnel. Celie finally found that light. After years of abuse, rejection, a great deal of losses, and hardship, she was able to start her own clothing company called “Folks pants”. She inherited her home, she found love in a woman named Shug who later decided she wanted Celie’s love forever, and she was reunited with her sister Nettie.
In the story, Alice Walker gives an explanation for the title of the book. In the beginning of the story, the color purple symbolized pain. For example, Sofia’s bruise was purple; it was described as the color of eggplant. Later in the story, in a conversation between Shug and Celie, the color purple adapted a different meaning. Shug began to encourage Celie by telling her to enjoy life. She began to teach her how, by noticing the simplest things. She told Celie to embrace the beauty of the purple flowers while standing in a field full of them. “You must look at all the good and acknowledge them because God placed them all on earth,” Shug told her. This was a defining moment for Celie; she then began to look at life differently. Sometimes struggles make us stronger, like the old saying “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Sometimes struggles come to help us learn things, or build and or shape character in us. This story is a testament to all people who struggle, that struggle doesn’t last always. There is light at the end of the tunnel for most struggles. As a reader who has dealt with my fair share of struggles, hearing the good outweighs the bad and that’s how captivating Celie’s story is. She went through a lot, but she overcame. She had faced many adversities, but she didn’t give in, she kept pushing and kept hoping. That hope turned into freedom. Stories like this one, gives readers hope and encouragement and in today’s time, that is needed and rare. That’s what makes this book such a great read.
Reading a story that is fictitious and non-relatable can soothe your mind for a moment, for the duration of the read. But once that book is finished, it hasn’t taught you anything. Life is still present and struggle still lies ahead. After reading a story about overcoming adversities, you can apply those same principles to life and share them with someone else who may be in need. Why not enjoy a book that teaches you a lesson in return? In The Color Purple, Alice Walker does just that.
Thanks, Ronnie, for telling us about the Color Purple. Happy Reading!