Explain the title of The Color Purple in relation to its theme.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Colours such as purple in this novel play a very important role in the way that they signify liberation and increasing freedom. Purple in particular is a bright colour that is used by Walker to indicate new starts or rebirths at various points in the narrative, such as when Delie and Sofia use bright yellow material, taken from the dress belonging to Shug, to make a quilt. Particularly in reference to the colour purple, Celie experiences something of a religious rebirth when she reimagines God as somebody she can relate to more easily, as a God of beauty who created things like the colour purple. Note what she writes in this letter to her sister concerning this rebirth and how the colour purple is related to this:

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?) ...

Here, Celie writes of the conversations that she has been having with Shug and how Shug has advised her to get rid off the male, patriarchal view of God that she has in her head as an "old white man," and to embrace an image of God that will work for her. For Celie, the colour purple is a sign of mystery and wonder at God's creative abilities, and it therefore is used to signify her own rebirth and renewal as a character, and the way she moves through the novel from being broken to a position of healing and completeness.

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