This book was one of several books I purchased months ago at this small used bookshop in our office building. I knew it tackled controversial, and emotional themes. It isn’t something you’d choose if you wanted light reading.
I picked it up last week to keep me company as I waited in line at the doctor’s clinic.
The language it is written in is definitely something you’d have to get used to, but not at all difficult to understand. I find myself at times reading it aloud because it sounds better, and it makes it easier to feel the words that way.
Reading The Color Purple is like eavesdropping in to a person’s conversations with God. It’s an insight to Celie-the main character’s soul.
It speaks of an awakening, a realization really, of what God means to one person. For all her life, Celie wrote letters to God until she realizes that maybe, she hadn’t known Him in a way that would make her appreciate her life and everything around her. And then finally, after a lifetime of abuse and another lifetime of being in a dark, she woke up and noticed the color purple, and everything else that was screaming for her attention.
We’ve all been told to stop and smell the flowers, right? Well, I think the book is trying to tell us that too, while it tells of a woman’s story of triumph over enormous adversity. It’s trying to remind me of how to appreciate God’s work in every little thing. When we live our lives in a way that makes us truly happy, we honor God. When we appreciate nature, and nurture what we can, we care for God’s work.
But, more importantly, it is about who a woman is.
All her life, Celie thought one thing of where a woman’s place is – at home, cleaning for the man, lying under the man, taking care of the kids, working at home and in farming. There were other women in her lives that did other things she woudn’t even have dared think about. To a certain extent, she envied them, and then she learned to admire them, to love them. She had to take a long journey to actually find herself, and build up herself. It took a long time, but she learned to live and get by, with the help of her beloved girlfriends.
There’s another theme there – about how meanness and doubt and disbelief could kill. Maybe that’s why the terminally ill people have peace, because they know they’re dying and they set out to make peace. It ends up giving them a better quality to their remaining life, doesn’t it? We should all learn from that. The world would probably be more pleasant if we just learned to own up to our fuck ups, confessed to our sins, and asked for forgiveness from the people we hurt.
It’s also about not knowing love, and finding love. Of falling in love, and then getting hurt. Then acceptance, and letting go.
Family is a central theme too – the family you are born into, and the family you build around you.