Discuss the title of the novel The Color Purple.

The title of the novel The Color Purple is significant because it points to the beauty and hope that purple symbolizes in the novel.

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In Alice Walker's The Color Purple, the title of the novel, as well as the color purple itself, have symbolic significance.

The color purple symbolizes elegance, royalty, freedom, and all that is good in the world. In letter 12, Celie shops for a purple dress, but the store does not have any purple dresses, so she has to settle for a blue one instead. Blue is a color often associated with sadness, such as in the expression "feeling blue."

Celie longs for the independence, liberation, and elegance symbolized by the color purple, but for the time being, she must settle for sadness and hardship, which is represented by the color blue.

Later in the novel, Shug tells Celie that God wants people to enjoy their lives, and they (God is gender neutral in the book) create simple pleasures, such as the color purple, for humans to notice and delight in.

The novel's title is a reminder to "stop and smell the roses," as the well-known expression says. In other words, it is a reminder to notice, appreciate, and enjoy the small, simple pleasures in life.

Shug tells Celie that God is angered when people walk past the color purple and do not take notice of it. Shug teaches Celie that enjoying her life is a way of honoring God because God wants people to enjoy their lives.

By the end of the novel, Celie learns to enjoy and appreciate her life. She has her own house and fills her bedroom with red and purple decorations. She has finally attained the elegance and freedom associated with the color purple, even if not in the way she expected.

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One of the first references to the color purple in the novel comes when Kate, Albert's sister, comes to visit Celie. Kate takes Celie to the store to get some cloth for new clothes, and Celie hopes for "Something purple, maybe little red in it too," as she is attracted to colors she believes Shug Avery would wear. Celie thinks of Shug as being "like a queen," and so these colors are ones Celie associates with a woman who has confidence and power—a woman who feels empowered and strong. However, there's no purple to be found, and Kate knows Albert won't want to pay for red, so Celie must choose between muted tones of brown, maroon, and dark blue.

Later, when Celie and Shug develop a relationship, Shug tells Celie, "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." This statement connects the color to something even bigger than confidence; it connects the color to divinity, to purpose, to God's love for us—ALL of us, even young women who feel that they have little value or purpose in the world. Celie has to banish the white, patriarchal God she's been taught to fear and rethink her relationship with herself, the world, and her God.

After Celie begins her business, she makes pants for Sofia. "One leg be purple, one leg be red." She even eventually paints her own bedroom "purple and red." Celie's relationship with and access to the color purple helps us to understand how empowered, how confident, and how purposeful and valuable in the world she feels.

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The color purple is a symbol of beauty and hope in this novel. The title indicates that finding this beauty and hope is a key aspect of Celie's journey to self actualization.

The novel begins in a very grim way, with the young Celie being raped and impregnated by her stepfather. Her life seems hopeless, and the religious faith that she been taught is repressive and patriarchal. In her oppressed circumstances, it is difficult for her to see the color and beauty of the world.

After she meets the flamboyant, colorful Shug, Celie begins to change. Her notion of God and faith transforms, and as it does so, she is able to see the beauty and color of the world around her. Purple symbolizes the vibrant life she begins to experience once she can alter her frame of reference and begin to love herself. This becomes clear when she makes the following comment:

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

Purple, however, means more than just a color. It means grasping all of life's potential, such as singing, dancing, and living joyfully. The title is significant because it points to the happy, upbeat ending of the novel. We can find the colors in our lives, even when we start from a very, very dark place.

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The title draws attention to the importance of colour in this brilliant novel and how brighter colours are linked to the experience of liberation that characters achieve at various points. For example, when Kate goes with Celie shopping for a new dress, note the way in which the only options for colour are very drab. However, when Celie and Sofia make a quilt together they use the bright yellow fabric from Shug's dress. Lastly, the colour purple is explicitly related to Celie's religious understanding of God when she marvelled about the fact that she never noticed the wonders of God's creation, such as "the colour purple":

Well, us talk and talk about God, but I’m still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). . . .

Through such thoughts Celie is able to reimagine her concept of God and not see him as a white male who oppresses her but rather as an entity who can be a source of wonder and marvels, as expressed through his creation and nature.

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