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The Color Purple by Alice Walker: Redemption of Mr._____
Change: it is an inevitable force that happens to everything and everyone in time. But, why do things change? Is it due to a life changing event or a sudden epiphany? According to human nature and psychology, when such people meet or stay together, they may form a very strong bond. That is the case Alice Walker presents in her fictional text, The Color Purple. Experiences faced by Celie, Sofia, and Shug are ridiculously ironic and evil. For every kid, there is an expectation that their parents actually take care of them and not harming them. Activities that Celie goes through in the hands of her stepfather and an abusive husband has a very negative impact on her judgement about the male gender. At the same time, the man she considered as a cruel, injustice, and selfish husband, Mr. Albert has his own reasons to become that type of person. The Color Purple is based on the need to eliminate patriarchy. In this book, we see a good example of change in Mr. Albert, whose character development has been the most drastic. The main idea of this content is to thematically understand the character of Mr.__, who is later named Albert, why he mishandled Celie and what leveraged the change in him towards the end of story.
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Right from the beginning, it is notable that Mr. Albert is an evil and also a weak character according to his attitudes and behaviors. He was kept obedient to his father’s wishes at a young age and was never taught to be an independent person. He also did not get the chance to actually explore who he really was and the frustration from his bad childhood passed down to his son Harpo, who he misguides. When Celie wrote to God she said: “Harpo ast his daddy why he beat me. Mr._____ say, Cause she my wife. Plus, she stubborn.” (23). We can see that Albert has been influenced by his father on his views on women. The way he sees Celie was a spoiled woman who doesn’t have a value because she is not a virgin. He put his father as a role model in his life turns him to a person who doesn’t know how to value himself or to another person. All he wanted was to obey his rules or words no matter if it is correct or not. That shows that he is a lack of sympathy to people whom he can have a dominant.
Practically, or rather realistically, Celie should have genuinely been able to rely on him all through until she was able to support herself. By knowing the fact that Celie is not a virgin, Mr. Albert took advantage of it; started to abuse and treated Celie like she is a worthless person. Mr. Albert said: ‘Well, you know, my poor little ones sure could use a mother.’(7). That reflects the reason of why he married Celie. According to the conversation he had with Fonso, it seems like the purpose of marrying Celie was to take care of his children and to do chores. He exclusively represents the theme of social immorality. Statistically, Albert is an abusive husband to Celie, which means there is something wrong with his character that made him leave or get abandoned in the previous marriage to the current; suggestively lack of respect and mistreatment.
In this novel, a man would never want a woman to take the lead in a relationship. However, some of them (men), have no idea of who they are or what they want. This makes them want to openly display masculinity. In addition to his evil nature, Albert is an extreme chauvinist. This character is displayed in his encounter with Shug. He does not really want to tell Shug that he really wanted to marry her because he knows that Shug is much more sounded and will take over him and rule him. She could say or do anything to him without any concerns. It might be unconsciously reminded him of his father. Celie describes in her letter: “Mr. _____ marry me to take care of his children. I marry him cause my daddy made me. I don’t love Mr. _____ and he don’t love me.” (64). In the first place, Albert was not interested in marrying Celie and only did it because she was available and Celie wanted to protected her sister from being married. Both of them know their marriage was not built up by love. That describes him as irrational, a character which drives him to bringing in Shug later when she is too sick, an action that could cause divorce with his lawfully married Celie as in. This displays the irresponsibility in him.
Still on the same ridiculous action of taking Shug in, a nature of self-centeredness is seen in the case study presented on Alberts’s character. He does not care what his wife will say and only brought Shug in because he knows he loves her and not because she is sick. It is important to understand that Albert’s character towards Celie resulted from his experience when he met Fonso, the stepfather to Celie and Nettie. His intention according to by then was to marry Nettie, but his thoughts were corrupted by the flashy nature of Shug. From this, he always compromised Celie, because he did not truly love her. His decision to bring Shug in was also not discussed between him and his wife, an action that renders him irrational as he thinks that the house and land is his, so he does whatever he wants to, without concerning his dutiful wife’s feelings. It should however, have been discussed because she is his wife and to avoid controversies. His self-centered and irrational nature, in one way or the other costed Nettie the pain of getting married to a man who could be referred to as her uncle. The indicates that Nettie became the
mother to her niece and nephew in Africa.
Amid this controversy of love, comes cruelty; a factor that commonly unites Shug, Nettie and Celie. The way Albert’s affection and sexual attachment is projected to Shug, is not the same manner that Celie perceives it. While he is with Celie, he is very rough and uncaring of her sexual pleasure. On the other hand, he is very romantic and the real lover when with Shug. Literary deductive analysis will conclude that the problem is because he does not understand the goodness in Celie because the way he treated her initiated hatred towards him and thus lost feelings for him. He beats her because he wants the upper hand and realizes that Celie is not Shug. The worst thing he does that he hides letters that have been sent by Nettie from Africa.
It appears like a motive aimed at cutting the ties between Celie and Albert.
Regarding the time that Alice Walker wrote this book, The Color Purple, it looks like an expression of the American culture in relation to the position of women in the society. The American society during the time after the first world war, saw women as vulnerable and should entirely be subjugated by men. That is the same affair that Walker is implying through the masculine impression of Mr. Albert and feminine impression of the women like Celie, Shug and Nettie. Mr. Albert may have mistreated Celine following that perspective on top of the fact that she was not his choice as per the case study presented. Presumably, his characteristic nature of violence might have contributed to the mistreatment. It is notable that presented with the wrong person. Albert was not interested and only played the game because Celie was available. It is so sad to note that Celie had had an incredibly difficult time reconciling with her past. Albert knew about it and he had hated her and saw that Fonso had offered her so easily for marriage because he did not consider her much productive.
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In most literary works, however, the reader is always delighted being the oppressor cannot win. It is interesting that the curse bestowed upon Celie does not effect because she ends up well with Albert. But as a critic, it is important to understand why Albert changed. The cause of his big change were the magnitude of depression and loneliness that fell upon Albert when Shug and Celie left him was quite heavy. They left him when Shug realized that Albert beats Celie while she is performing at Harpo’s joint. Their bond and love thus grew stronger following this and she also helps Celie to recover letters hidden by Albert. These activities made him realize that Celie was the best thing that he ever had in his life and that he was only arrogant and did not want to look at the better side of the situation.
Although Alice Walker’s work is based on real life situations, it raises critical alarms of controversy and social iniquity. The character of Mr. Albert and consequently Fonso, are not those to be admired or followed. They shatter the images of well-intentioned men, and if someone who has had a bad upbringing of the same kind reads this content, he or she might gain a wrong perception of all men and the society in general. On the other hand, it adequately contributes to women empowerment in a patriarchal society because it offers a perspective that they can make their own choices. Albert by himself didn’t realize the value and power of his wife and his mistress until they both left him. As a result, he regrets his own actions and behaviors which makes him transforms from a mean guy to an understanding person. All in all, the changes bring Mr. Albert to become a better person as he continues the rest of his life with joy and peace.
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