The Color Purple

Discuss the thematic concerns of the novel

The feministic and historical fictional novel “The Color Purple” written by Alice Walker focuses on the thematic concerns of the early 20th century. The thematic concerns that Walker discusses are racial tensions, the African experience, feminism and religion. These themes are portrayed through the main characters Celie and Nettie within an epistolary (letter) format.

The thematic concern of racial tension is adequately shown through Celie’s perception to convey white supremacy over the African-American community of the southern states. The racial tension is intertwined throughout he novel as Celie’s father was lynched for being a successful African-American, the informalities with the language and the differing treatment to show segregation when Celie is shopping and meets Corrine. The most powerful scene that explores white supremacy is examined through Celie’s first person narration. The character Sofia whom is dominant and a symbol of feminism within the African-American community, stands up for her rights when she is patronised by Miss Millie. This is evident in “All your children so clean, she say, would you like to work for me, be my maid”. The direct and demanding comment by Miss Millie, who represents the hierarchy of the white race, shows the expectations of African-American women as being that of a lower class citizen and a domestic servant. The racial tension between the two races as conveyed through “they dragged her to the ground” and Celie’s blunt language and graphic description “when I see Sofia I don’t know why she still alive. They crack her skull, they crack her ribs”. This event highlights the intensity of racial prejudice and tension between the two races that has been deeply ingrained in the Southern States of America for generations. Walker discusses the theme of racial tension throughout the novel, to reinforce the point of view that racism was wide spread...