What questions does Celie ask God in The Color Purple?

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The Color Purple is an epistolatory novel, meaning that each chapter takes the form of a letter, many of which in this instance are addressed to God. The novel's protagonist, Celie, begins writing letters to God because she is told that, "You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mamy."

In the opening letter of the novel, Celie, who has grown up in Georgia and suffered much abuse, asks God to "give [her] a sign letting [her] know what is happening to [her]." At this point, Celie, who is fourteen years old, is pregnant with her second child and the victim of rape and incest at the hands of her father, Alphonso.

In her third letter, Celie describes how her father berates her for not looking "decent," and asks in return, "What I'm sposed to put on? I don't have nothing." This question is addressed as much to herself as to the God to whom she writes. She receives no satisfactory answer from either herself or from God.

After this point, Celie doesn't ask direct questions of God, but the description of abuses and injustices that she continues to describe in her letters implies an ongoing reaching out for answers and for succour. When those answers continue to fail to come, and God becomes conspicuous by his silence and his absence, Celie stops writing to God, asking her sister, Nettie, "What God do for me?" Celie also says that the God she has been writing to "is a man. And act just like all the other mens [she] knows. Trifling, forgitful and lowdown."

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The novel The Color Purple opens with Celie asking God about what is happening to her:  "Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me."  Celie's mother has left to see a doctor, and her father rapes her while the mother is away.  Her father threatens her and tells her not to tell anyone what has happened, so Celie can only resort to talking to God about her problems.  Celie does not understand why such violence has befallen her, and she does not understand what is happening to her body once she is pregnant.  As the novel progresses, she continues to ask God about the trials in her life that she must endure until she begins to stand up for herself and starts writing letters to her sister Nettie instead of writing to God.

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