What is the setting of "The Color Purple"?

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As the previous educator notes, the setting for The Color Purple is primarily the rural South—Georgia and, later, Tennessee. When Celie discovers the letters that her sister, Nettie, has written to her about her life as a missionary in West Africa, the setting shifts there and Nettie's voice takes over in the novel.

Celie figuratively "escapes" from her miserable life in Georgia with Mr. ___ by reading and writing letters—first, her letters to God, then, the ones that she receives from Nettie. In a way, the true setting of the novel is Celie's imagination. Mr. ____ suppresses the letters from Nettie because he does not want Celie to explore her imagination or any place beyond Mr. ____'s house and farm, where he holds Celie captive.

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The primary setting for this novel is in rural Georgia in the first half of the twentieth century. This is where the main character, Celie, lives for the majority of her life, except for a brief sojourn in Tennessee at the home of her best friend and lover, Shug Avery. Celie's sister, Nettie, however, moves to western Africa, and because the novel is written in epistolary form, Nettie's home there also becomes another setting for the novel. Epistolary means that the entire novel is comprised of letters, written from one character to another; therefore, any place from which a character writes a letter really becomes part of the novel's setting. Celie does most of the letter writing, as the protagonist, and so the setting in Georgia predominates over the African setting.

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The setting for The Color Purple is Georgia. The story takes place  between 1909 and 1949.

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