The movie adaptation of The Color Purple followed me throughout my adolescent. This theatrical portrayal of Alice Walker’s novel told the story of Celie, an under appreciated woman trying to find her way. All the years I spent pouring over this movie, I always believed that Celie simply wanted to get back to her own family.
I soon discovered I was wrong after reading the novel. Alice Walker did not shy away from revealing Celie’s true sexual feelings towards women; revealing this quite early in the book. However, Celie’s religion shaped her normal, which limited her true desires. Even though Celie strives to uphold her conventional views, she is constantly surrounded by individuals who constantly challenges her norms.
There is Sophia who possesses masculine characteristics while her husband, Harpo, is more feminine in demeanor. Celie’s younger sister’s independence takes her to Africa where she later questions the religious teachings she brought to the natives. Then, there is Shug Avery who is is promiscuous, gender-fluid and passionate about living life in her own way.
The Color Purple is very much a feminist novel, but its theme is deeper than feminism. In fact, according to Walker the novel is about God, or as Shug Avery explained,“…It. God ain’t a he or a she, but a It.”
Alice Walker illustrates the essence of “It” as a power we do not necessarily have to do good for, but simply appreciate what feels good. Walker goes on to describe spirituality as something we should feel happy in obtaining.
How do we achieve happiness?
According to Shug Avery, through admiration and appreciation. We may not appreciate sex like Shug Avery, but through this association Walker successfully breaks down the stigmas associated with happiness and spirituality.
Here is something to ask yourself:
What makes you feel good?
And, from those positive feelings, are you able to truly enjoy the life that you live?
In your spare time, find some time to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker.