The Color People

The Color People

Rape, incest, sex , forced labor, and a
little reefer on the side. These are all of the components of a Novel by

Alice Walker. All of these views are illustrated proficiently in Alice

Walkers third novel, The Color Purple. Each one of these aspects had a
lasting impression upon the ideals and notions of the time. Walker's writing's
helped to break the racial barrier that existed in some people's minds.

One way that the barrier was destroyed
was through Walker's depiction of an imperfect black person. If a white
person wrote about a less than perfect black person than it was considered
racist. Now that a black person is writing about other blacks that are
foretaking in acts that are, in their eye's, immoral and corrupt, the subject
is brought into a new light. These actions are discussed out in the open,
and the idea that all people have their own "flaws", is thought to be more
fisable. Walker combines all of these issues in her story in a deceptive

They all are linked together by way of
a semi-believable story line with one major overlaying theme. Prescott
sums it up nicely, "Love redeems, meanness kills"(p74). This is illustrated
in many ways in Walker's novel. One perfect example of this is Mr. _____.

Mr. _____, as he is called throughout the novel, was a wife beater, who,
having been denied Celie's sister, marries Celie to look after his children.

He beats her and rapes her and is just plain nasty to her. Finally, one
day, after Celie discovers another mean thing that Mr. ____ did to her,
she leaves with her girlfriend to start a new life. Mr. _____ is left all
alone. He starts to fall apart. He becomes afraid of the dark, and just
gives up on life. That was his meanness that started to destroy his life.

Now, just as Mr. ____ is nearing death, his son Harpo, starts to take care
of him. Mr.___ starts to love him again. Now Mr.____'s life takes a towards
revival. He becomes a new man. Once he starts to love his life starts to
look up again. His and his son's love redeemed him.

"The more I wonder, he say, the more I

And people start to love you back, I bet,

I say.

They do, he say, surprise. Harpo seem
to love me."
(Walker, pg. 290)

Walker's novel is very unique in regards
to style. Her use of black idiom is very effective and adds the extra fragment
of actuality and authenticity to the story line. "Walker's use of language,
especially Black idiom, is masterful and adds poignancy and depth to the
narrative." (Another characteristic of Walker is the inclusion of highly
controversial and unique circumstances in her novel. For example, many
authors of the time, black or white, would address the idea of either inter-racial
or same-sex relations. Walker was an active feminist and her voice and
opinions show through in many of her novels. The Color Purple includes
many dynamic characters throughout.

Mr._____ is a good example of one such
character. In the beginning of the novel he is a mean, strange old man
who only marries Celie because he needs somebody to look after his kids.

Mr.______ is really in love with her sister, but their father decides that
her sister Nettie is too young for marriage so he settles for Celie. This
shows how unfeeling Mr.____ is in the first portion of the novel. He beats
his wife and overworks her and rapes her and abuses her. He is an all around
bad guy. "First he put this thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it
around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my
pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying you better shut
up and git used to it." (Walker, pg. 1,2) However, Mr.____ comes upon a
big change in his life when Celie finally leaves him. Mr.____ is left all
by himself and forced to survive and maintain himself on his own. Here
is where he runs into some problems. Here is where the big change takes
place. Mr.____ changes his evil ways and begins to show some compassion
and love. The end of the novel depicts a markedly different Mr.____ then
the beginning of the novel portrays. In the end of the novel Mr.____ and

Celie actually have a civilized conversation and begin to see face to face.

They become friends and often visit each other's homes and chat on