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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial