Summary Of The Color Purple English Literature Essay

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It all begins on a farm in the Southern United States in the beginning of the 20th century. Celie is a 14 year old girl who lives with her father and sister. She and her sister Nettie care a lot about each other. She is being mistreated by her father. He rapes her and abused her. She can't talk to anyone about this, except with god. Everything that happens she writes in letters to god in her diary.

Celie is not allowed to go to school, because her father says that she is dumb and need to help cleaning. In the church there is a elderly man who always looks at Nettie. His name is Mr.___. When Mr.__ comes to Celie's house, he asks for Nettie's hand. Their father says no to it, but promises him a cow if he would except Celie as his wife. Mr.__ accepts the offer and he marries Celie. He doesn't love her, but his wife died and he needed someone who would clean for him and look after his four children.

Nettie runs away from her home and went to Celie. She stays with Celie and her family. But Mr.__ tries to seduce Nettie. She leaves, promising that she will write till her death. But Celie never received a letter.

Mr__'s son Harpo chooses that he wants to marry his girlfriend Sofia. His father forbids him to marry her, but he does it anyway.

Mr__ always talks about a woman called Shug Avery. A few days later Shug comes to visit Mr__. After a while Shug becomes very ill and Celie takes care of her. During this period Celie and Shug become best friends. They discuss many things together. Celie learns a lot about Shug and Shug tells her how to be more confidence.

When Shug is there, Mr__ doesn't beat or abuse Celie. Shug forbids him to do that. Even when Shug leaves he treats Celie well.

Shug always writes letters to Mr__. One day she says that she is coming to visit. When she came, she is married to a man called Grady. Mr__ and Grady are always drunk. Celie tells Shug all about her past. She says that nobody ever loved her. Shug told her that she loved her and that was their start of a lesbian relationship.

Shug discovers that Mr____ has been hiding Nettie's letters for Celie. Celie read the letters about Nettie's life. Nettie now lives with a woman named Corrine, her husband Samuel and two adopted children, called Olivia and Adam. Later the two children turn out to be Celie's. Nettie told Corrine on her deathbed that Adam and Olivia are actually Celie's children. Samuel told Nettie that her father isn't her real father. Their real father was killed in a execution when they were very young.

When Celie reads her father isn't her real father she decides to go to Shug's house in Memphis. In Memphis Celie starts running a shop in pants. Shug falls in love, with a 19 year old boy and leaves, promising Celie that she would come back. Celie doesn't believe her, but she have decided to live her own life. When her stepfather died, she decided to live in her old house. The house used to belong to her 'real father' and he left it to his children.

The last letter of the book is a letter to God, but with Celie's new look at the world. In this letter she thanks god for bringing Nettie back to her. At the end of the book Celie is full of confidence and love for life, others and herself.


Celie is a very dependent and easily manipulated girl. Many people use her because of this, like her father sexually abused her.

She is the oldest at home and there for she does the housekeeping, instead of following her dreams to go study. She is very suspicious to others, so she writes letter to god. Later in the book she is a happy independent woman.

She has short, black hair. Mr.___ says that cutting her hair brings bad luck, that's why she shaves it.

Nettie is Celies younger sister. She is very attentive, caring and has great interest, black people. Mr.___ was more interested in marrying her then Celie, because she is prettier, they called Celie ugly. Nettie helps Celie with learning how to spel.

Mr.___ (Albert) is Celies man. Albert was married before, but his wife died. He actually seeks a relationship with Nettie, but he takes Celie. Albert mistreats Celie just as her father did, and she allows it. Albert uses Celie to help him raise the children. Shug leads Albert to start treating Celie better

Shug Avery is Celie's 'hero'. She learns Celie how be independent. She is a famous blues singer an every body loves her. She loves to experience with her life.

Title explanation

The color purple stands for independence and freedom of one's mind and feelings. It plays an important role in Celie's and Shug's life.

When Celie bought a dress for the first time in her life, she choosed a purple one. Celie has a purple room. And when Shug explains to Celie how important freedom is, she says: "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it."

The colour purple comes back in many ways in the story.


The theme of the book is to defend yourself even if people do not respect you. Think about the mistreatment of the women in the book like Celie. In the beginning Celie takes everything. But at the end she defends herself and loves herself, even if some people don't respect her.

Own opinion

I thought it was a beautiful book. She had a lot of things happen to her that she couldn't do anything about or that she could control. The only thing she could do was keep on moving forwards, finding condolence and a listening ear in God. The style in which the book was written was very typical because the author tried to make the story as real as possible. She did that by writing it in old English and with a lot of grammar faults and mistakes because Celie didn't had no education. In the beginning that was a little bit hard but when you were familiar to that writing style it was a great book to read.