Celie Character Analysis

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Celie’s lack of a strong mother figure is a significant part of why she doesn’t develop independence in her early life, so strong mother figures such as Sofia, Shug Avery, Mary Agnes, Nettie, and even Albert’s sister Kate are crucial to her personal progress later on. It is these “surrogate mothers” that push Celie to understand how she truly deserves to be treated, and they also teach her how to fully live her life, thus resuming her development of ideas such as “separation, autonomy, and identity formation”(Proudfit 23). One especially important surrogate mother for Celie is her daughter-in-law, Sofia. Sofia comes from a family in which she does have several strong female presences surrounding her at all times, and that helps her to develop independence and a strong character of her own. This allows Sofia to stand as an example of female power for Celie. The earliest conflict to take place with Sofia is after she marries Albert’s son Harpo; he immediately becomes frustrated that Sofia is not a blindly obedient housewife like Celie, and he asks Albert and Celie how to “make her mind”(pp). Albert tells him that the only way to make Sofia obey is to physically abuse her, and Celie, who has grown resentful of how Sofia pities her, agrees and says, “Beat her”(pp). This further demonstrates how Celie has grown complicit in the poor treatment of women, including herself and her family. However, Sofia soon confronts Celie and explains to her why she won’t accept any abuse from
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