Symbolism In Alice Walker's The Color Purple

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Firstly, the title of the book The Color Purple is a major foreshadowing of the treatment the main protagonist, Celie, and the other black women face. With the knowledge that God is very important to Celie as she writes letters to him about all the events in her life, the title gives insight to the treatment the characters, whom are black women, face. According to a website, the color purple in Christianity symbolizes pain and suffering and foreshadows the fact that Celie experiences events which cause her those emotion. [ ] The very first phrase in the book, which is:

“You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.” [ ]

The phrase explains to us the reason why she is writing to God, which is because she has nobody to turn
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This is shown in the way Celie did not receive the education she deserved but mainly it is shown through the fact that Celie never knew about the man she calls her ‘father’ not truly being her father. The fact that Celie does not know this vital information symbolizes that women are kept in the dark.

Throughout the novel, Walker uses the image of the church to contradict the hope Celie gets from God. In the novel, we learn that Celie was beaten by her ‘father’ because according to him, she winked at a boy in church. We also learn that Mr ___’s late wife was killed as she was stepping out of church thus the church is unable to protect women who look up to God to help them endure the abuse they suffer through. Through the use of this image, Walker implies that Celie’s letters, wishes and hopes falls on deaf ears.
Eventually, towards the end of the novel, Celie’s faith in God is no longer intact. This is because she notices that her wishes and the struggles she faces are because of what was given to her by Him. Celie also tells us that God is a man and therefore, because of his gender and the abuse she faced from other men, she deems God as just like them as she
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