Why does Alice Walker put blank lines in the book The Color Purple for Mr. Albert? And why did she name the novel The Color Purple?
Studying Alice Walker's early life reveals her attitudes toward men, particularly abusive, insensitive men such as Albert. Walker has said in interviews that Celie initially expresses her awe of her husband by referring to him as "Mr.-----." As she grows spiritually and mentally, she uses "Mr. -----" as an expression of her disrespect and disgust for Albert. At the end of the novel, when Celie has matured and become comfortable with herself, she finally uses her husband's given name as a symbol of her growth and self-confidence.
It is also important to acknowledge the 18th and 19th century convention of discretion for referring to certain people and places—especially those who might be portrayed negatively in the text—by initials or a clipped name. Doing so preserved a level of anonymity and avoided unnecessary defamation of character.