Why was the book "The Color Purple" banned? What was done to allow the book "The Color Purple" not to be banned?

Expert Answers
janihash24 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Color Purple has been controversial since its publication, with some people finding its vivid depictions of violence, particularly rape, offensive, its language "vulgar," its sexual content, especially the scenes involving women making love to women, deviant, and the characters' attitudes towards each other racist.

These opinions of the book were not shared by the Pulitzer committee, which awarded The Color Purple the prize for fiction in 1983.

Various school boards in some places across the country, and in one case, one specific member of a school board, have banned the book from being taught in classrooms for the reasons cited above. It likely could be fair to say that this book should be taught with historical context, and is not appropriate for young readers. However, we need to continue to ask ourselves if "banning" a work that is clearly a superior work of fiction is the appropriate action to take—and if so, why.

katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Color Purple" has been banned for a variety of reasons. Some of them include: homosexuality, sexual explicitness, offensive language, and "troubling ideas about race relations, man's relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality." As far as "The Color Purple" not being banned, it depends on the specific case as to why it was or was not allowed to be taught, read or left in a library. Usually some sort of committee will decide whether the literary merits of the book out weight the "negative" aspects of the book.

poonamvalera | Student

Though THE COLOR PURPLE was an enormous popular success, it inspired complaints that it dwelled too heavily on misogyny and male pathology within the African-American community while relatively discounting the effects of racism. The novel, which describes rituals of female circumcision and facial scarring and includes many other details of sex and violence, has also repeatedly been the target of censorship efforts in school libraries and other institutions. There is little controversy, however, about the book's emotional power: it is among the most affecting works of late-20th-century American literature.