How was Celie resilient in The Color Purple?

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Through much of the novel, Celie seems to be equal parts submissive and resilient. Because she is stuck in bad situations, in her youth and after her marriage, her sense of self-worth is eroded. Nevertheless, the reader is given some indications of her inner strength, and these signs do end up pointing to the resilience that ultimately yields a positive outcome.

One of Celie's most valuable character traits is her empathy. She manages to hold on to this, although she sometimes lets it slip, and her ability to think of others contributes substantially to her inner strength. This is especially obvious in her helping keep Nettie away from abuse. It emerges later when she cares for Shug, contributing to their growing friendship and even love. Celie's harshness toward Sofia, while initially harmful or cruel, cannot endure past her true nature and finally they grow closer.

Celie also manages to hold onto something she does well and values, her sewing. Continued practice and ever growing creativity are important in maintaining a sense of personal value, and sharing the quilting enforces the bond with Sofia. The skills also will become the foundation of a business.

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A person defined as resilient is one who can withstand all of the atrocities of life and still come out ahead--that is Celie, for sure. Celie endured nothing but misery and pain during her childhood and well into her 30s and 40s. She was molested by the man she believed to be her "Pa" (Alphonso), she had 2 children before she was 15 years old (both of whom are taken away from her by Pa), she was beaten by her husband  "Mr.___________" (Albert), was separated from her sister Nettie and was abandoned by the one person for whom she ever felt romantic love, Shug Avery.

In spite of these hardships, Celie finds happiness by coming to terms with her past and learning a sense of self-worth and independence, both of which she gains after she turns her skill for sewing into a successful business. 

At the end of the novel, Celie has transformed from this helpless, dependent and weak girl to a strong, self-assured and happy women who has "never felt this young in our lives". Celie has everything that she desired: her sister and children have returned from Africa, she has a beautiful home and a successful business, she and Albert are friends, and she is surrounded by people she loves and that love her in return.

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