The Color Purple
In the novel, Celie tries to free herself from the control and abuse of men. Throughout the story Celie is abused mentally, physically, and sexually which draws more attention to the main idea in this novel: traditional gender roles. This power struggle brings attention to the way women are treated by men and what little power they had over anything. When Mr.______ told Harpo, “well how you spect to make Sofia mind? Wives like children. You have to let them know who has the upper hand nothing can do that better than a good sound beating.” (37) It showed the reader immediately which way that men think is the right way to treat women to get them to listen.
The power that men have over Celie is shown in the very beginning when Alphonso tells Celie, “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.” (1) Alphonso tells Celie this to scare her into keeping the secret about him raping her. When Celie is finally free from Alphonso, Mr.______ also rapes and beats her.
Throughout most of the novel Celie refuses to fight back or stand up for herself because she is afraid that it would kill her, like when she says, “I don’t say nothing. I think bout Nettie, dead. She fight, she run away. What good it do? I don’t fight, I stay where I’m told. But I’m alive.” (22) By Celie saying this it shows how men, and the way they treat her, have affected her because she is afraid to be anything but a maid.
Although Shug did not directly tell Celie to stand up for herself she showed it through a complex relationship. By Shug being there as a role model for Celie, it showed her that she can fight back and be a more independent woman. Shug not only acted as a motherly friend to Celie, but a sister and lover as well. These different roles help Shug show Celie that she was worthy of love and happiness, not abuse.
Celie finally made an attempt to fight back and gain control of her life when she...