Self-love is lacking immensely within the Black community. Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” shows how physical, verbal, and emotional abuse can diminish the values of African-American – especially women. Alice Walker successfully targets the Black community by educating them on the Black community by educating them on the consistent abuse passed down for centuries. In her book, Alice Walker uses imagery frequently to portray the graphic scenes in the story. The protagonist is an example of all African-American people, even men.
Celie, the protagonist and narrator of this novel is stripped from her sense of self. Before she was sold to an older man, her father drilled negativity into her head. Each insult peeling a piece of Celie away. By the time she is fourteen, she has had two children by her father. By the time she is twenty and sold, she believes the frequent discredit. Celie is overall silenced, and the cycle continues in her marriage. Just this alone is so heavy to read on ones’ heart. Pathos is a large part of this essay because it forces the reader to experience something terribly dark that many people revert their eyes from. My heart ached throughout the book as I read the detailed abuse that Celie endured. This usage of pathos causes the reader to want to reach inside the book and rescue Celie from her unbearable life. It is all an emotional trigger.
Alice Walker wrote this essay touching on rape, abuse, slavery, and discrimination. Walker wrote this novel to wake America up. “They act like 400 years of being dominated and enslaved by white men left no trace, and that all this bad behavior started with the Black people.” (Walker 2007). Walker was initially inspired by the segregated times that she grew up in. She witnessed in the Martin Luther King era.
We can trust that her book is good because it comes from a raw place of experience and history. “If you deny the people of their own voice, you’ll have no idea of who they were.” (Walker 2013) Alice then ultimately was not only inspired by her upbringing, but also by her ancestors. She wanted to be the voice that her ancestors were not. She aired out the touchy topics that had been swept under the rug for large amount of time.
The raw nerve that Alice initially received a negative response from her book. Not only were White people in an uproar but even African Americans. She was accused of hating black men and betraying her race. She touched a raw nerve that many felt was too soon since segregation was just starting to diminish. Alice was blamed for altering the reputation of the African American race.
Regardless of the hate, Alice Walker continued to stay confident and sell her book. She needed people to hear the story of her ancestors. “The Color Purple” was written very logically. This story is no fairytale. Walker held back no details and did not sugar coat the storyline. “He never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t.” (Walker Page 4). The rest of this quote is very detailed and graphic. Walker utilizes imagery to describe the sexual abuse that Celie’s father committed to show the reader why Celie is so insecure. If Alice had used euphemisms, the meaning behind her words would not have been as effective.
The violence and emotional abuse were a large factor that came with the book. Alice’s mother barely able to get past the first few pages of the book due to how graphic and sickening the book is. Walker utilized logos because she knew if she wrote a fairytale story it would be cute and maybe be a hit but selling a million copies was not her motivation. She wanted her stories to come from an honest and real place so her audience would be reminded of the dark history of African American abuse.
Celie is an analogy to all of the African American race. Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” achieved exactly what she wanted. Walker wanted black people to open their eyes and talk about the things that many people during this time wouldn’t. She effectively utilized ethos, logos, and pathos to further her success of this novel. By writing this book and becoming a success, Alice was able to free her ancestor’s voice and get all of her held back anger off of her chest. Alice saw herself in Celie and wanted others to see themselves too. In closing I will end with a quote from Celie herself ‘I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here,’ (Walker 207).
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