At the beginning of The Color Purple, young Celie tells God “I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me” (p. 1). This appeal to God sets the reader up for an unnerving beginning to the novel, as she goes on to describe the horrible assault that her father has been subjecting her to. It also speaks to Celie’s innocent nature, which is one of her more defining characteristics.
Celie's reserved demeanor makes her a target for ridicule and abuse early in the novel. Her husband, referred to as Mr. ______, tells her “Wives is like children. Nothing can do better than a good sound beating” (p. 55). Upon first meeting Shug Avery, the traveling singer tells Celie “you sure is ugly” (p. 46) while letting out a laugh that “sound like a death rattle” (ibid).
Other characters encourage her to fight back. Sofia tells Celie that she “you ought to bash Mr. ______ head in. Think bout heaven...
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