The black community has their own cycle of violence that we can relate to the characters and relationships in The Color Purple. Black Southerners formed their own small community in the white dominated society but they still destroyed themselves from within this community by abusing and hurting their women. Women living in this black community got mentally, physically, and sexually abused by their fathers, husbands, and other men. While this behavior remains very inappropriate and wrong, the women felt nothing could stop the men from their horrible actions.
Sofia and Celie, two main characters in The Color Purple, had experienced pain and harm, especially by their husbands. Having a father who sexually and physically beat her, Celie had never had an easy life. Celie explains her incidents with her father in her diary, “He never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t. ” (Page 1). From then on, things only continued to get worse and Celie soon began getting beat and sexually abused by her new husband, Mr. _____. Celie viewed these actions as the normal part of life and better than death.
Celie explains to Mr. ____’s sisters, “I don’t fight, I stay where I’m told. But I’m alive. ” (Page 22) Mr. _____’s son, Harpo, also physically beats his wife, Sofia. Sofia won’t take this kind of harm though. She decides to fight back and stand up for her rights. This worked out for her with Harpo and she even decides to leave him. Celie describes their fight and how Sofia fights back, “They fight. He try to slap her. What he do that for? She reach down and grab a piece of stove wood and whack him cross the eyes. ” (Page 38).
Remaining a large part of the black community, violence affected Sofia, Celie, and many other African Americans. Alice Walker helps the readers understand the stereotype of black Southerners during this time period and how they cause much harm in their community. White men stood in control of the South during the early twentieth century. While some blacks created their own communities between themselves, whites controlled most of the area. Although some say whites didn’t control everything, they treated blacks living in the community differently.
While Celie went into a store, in town, the clerk acted impatient and didn’t treat Celie or any other blacks respectfully. Celie explains the clerks attitude, “He say, Girl you want the cloth or not? We got other customers sides you. ” (Page 14. ) If someone acted like this in a store nowadays, most people would leave right away. Yet the black woman says “Yes sir. I want five yards, please sir. ” (Page 14. ) The woman asks kindly and treats the clerk with more respect even though getting business and customers remains his job.
The clerk also has horrible customer service, “He snatch the cloth and thump down the bolt. He don’t measure. When he think he got five yard he tare it off. ” (Page 14. ) This shows an example of the stereotype how whites treated blacks differently. Walker demonstrates the racism and how whites considered blacks not as important during this time period. Sofia also gets discriminated by race when she gets arrested. Squeak comes to Celie and tells her “Sofia in jail, I say” (Page 86. ) When Celie asks why, Squeak explains “Sassing the mayor’s wife, I say. (Page 86. ) Sofia also pushed the mayor but she had to serve her sentence of twelve years in jail. This shows how the unfair justice system punishes blacks. A person nowadays would get in trouble for doing such a thing but not much could happen to the accused. Alice Walker illustrates the stereotype of discrimination and harm caused by whites on blacks in The Color Purple. The Color Purple educates the reader to achieve the author’s purpose by showing stereotypes of violence and harm throughout.
While some people went along with the harm and decided living in the hard conditions remained good enough, some decided to fight back which only got them involved with bigger problems. The reader can feel sympathy for the characters and others during this time period and learn a lot about harm inflicted on and in the black community. Although the human race still struggles with racism, harm, and violence every day, people can learn from The Color Purple and people today are putting aside their differences to make the world a better place for everyone.