Discuss the title of the novel The Colour Purple.
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.
The title of the book is a very important symbol. Celie goes through life having a hard time noticing the beautiful aspects and appreciating them. She had a difficult life and was abused as an adolescent. "The color purple is continually equated with suffering and pain. Sofia's swollen, beaten face is described as the color of 'eggplant'. Purple is the color of Celie's private parts: the site of her sexual violation.However, later Shug points out to her that life must be enjoyed. When they were in a field of purple flowers, Shug tells Celie to look at the flowers and embrace their beauty. "You must look at all the good and acknowledge them because God placed them all on earth". After learning this, Celie has a better respect for life and everything it has to offer.