Alice Walker, The Color Purple, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1982

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch61

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Alice Walker, The Color Purple, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1982, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch61

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675

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Keywords:

  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple, New York - Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1982;
  • The Color Purple, a large critical and commercial success, winning both a Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1983;
  • epistolary form of novel, allowing Walker to give full voice to two black sisters, whose futures take very different directions, forced to separate as young women;
  • Celie, the sister whose early life - shaped by a stepfather, who is as abusive as Albert;
  • distance separating them - the two sisters sharing their love for each other over letters, grammar, vocabulary and spelling reflecting each sister's life;
  • In Celie's case, her stepchildren - the aggressive and independent Sophie, and the even more independent Shug Avery;
  • Celie, learning that her father was lynched by white men - because his dry goods store took too much black business away from the white merchants;
  • Olinka women, under the new conditions - achieving a degree of financial independence through paid employment;
  • challenge to patriarchal oppression - extending to Celie's conception of God;
  • critical praise, novel has received - and objections, commentators viewing the ending as overly sentimental

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography