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Word Count: 705
The Color PurpleThe Color Purple brought on its self a storm of controversy upon its publicationCritics charged Walker with focusing on the sexual oppression of black women at the expense of dealing with the overall oppression of blacks However Walkers novel is a complex analysis of race relations and racial identity Celies letters to God are the sole narrative for the first half of the novel Celie is a poor uneducated Southern black woman Her experiences are limited to a small geographic area However when she discovers her sister Netties letters after years of separation Walker situates Celies narrative at the crossroads of a complex discourse on racial identitySamuel Nettie and Corrine travel to Africa as missionaries They naively expect Africans to identify with them on the basis of their race However Africans often associate them with other foreigners They are not welcomed as long-lost brothers and sisters The Olinka village where they work regards them with a mixture of contempt and indifference They see missionaries as invaders who want to change their culture Samuel and Nettie in particular want Africans to acknowledge their role in the slave trade that condemned their ancestors to a life of toil and misery in America However Samuel Nettie and Corrine do not acknowledge their complicity with European colonization of africa Celies narrative provides a compelling contrast to the situation of African women She suffers rape at the hands of her step-father and physical abuse at the hands of her husband She is a Christian woman but Christianity does not alleviate her problems Moreover the church she attends subscribes to restrictive notions of femininity The women at her church stared judgmentally at her when she was pregnant with her two children They condemn Shug Avery for having a sexually active lifestyle They disapprove of her singing her risque clothing and her smoking Celie does not even know about the existence of her clitoris until Shug tells her about it
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