Monday, August 23, 2010

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The following is a student example that you can use as a model for your own entries. Be sure to check the requirements on the handout to be sure you are meeting them all.
-Ms. Frank

The Color Purple by Alice Walker tells the story of a young African American woman named Celie who lives in a male-dominated society. Celie tells her story through a series of letters, first addressed to God, but eventually she addresses them to her sister Nettie. As a young girl, she is raped by her stepfather and has two of his children, who are taken away. Then she is forced to marry a man who abuses her. She refers to her husband as Mr._____ throughout most of the novel, showing that he is superior to her. According to Walker, throughout her marriage, Celie knows that Mr. _____ married her just “to take care of his children” (66). Later on, Mr.____’s mistress, Shug Avery, comes to live with Celie and her family. Shug is an outgoing and independent young woman who does not follow the orders of men. Celie falls in love with Shug because Shug shows her that she can be powerful and independent as well. Shug tells Celie that “man corrupt everything” (Walker 204). Her sister Nettie lives in Africa and she writes letters to Celie.
When she learns that her stepfather has passed away, there is a change in Celie’s attitude. She finds out that she is the owner of the home her stepfather has lived in. She takes charge and fixes the home, preparing it for her sister Nettie. She also starts her own type of business, sewing pants for a living. By living in the new home, she left Mr.______ whom she begins to call Albert, showing that she is not subservient to the men in her life. She actually starts to form a strong friendship with Albert after she moves out of the house. He appreciates her more.
Discussion Questions:
Celie writes to her sister and she finds comfort talking to Shug as a way to deal with the oppression. But there are other women in the novel who fight their husbands. Do you think that it is easier for most people to come to terms with oppression in their lives or to fight it?
Shug was Celie’s inspiration to break away from the submissive life she was living. To what degree do you think people can have such a strong impact on others, as to change their lives for better or worse?

23 comments:

Sam M. 13-14 said...

To answer the first question, I think it depends on the persons character as to the how they deal with the oppression in their life. Celie is a passive character so it is easier to escape the abuse in her life by writing to God and then to her sister, Nettie. Some of the other characters in the novel such as Sophia, are stronger and more outgoing so they are able to stand up to the opression in their life. For Sophia it is much easier for her to fight back and speak her mind with no regrets. I think Shug had a huge impact on Celie and I believe that people can have very strong impacts on others. Shug had a positive impact on Celie, but it does not always have to be a positive impact one makes one another's life. In this novel, Celie was very blessed to have met Shug because Shug opened Celie's eyes to the world so she could overcome the oppression and abuse in her life.

Rachel J. 13-14 said...

In my opinion, it is easier for people who are not as strong to just go along and accept the oppression or abuse that has taken place. For me, it would be hard for me just to take something like that and not fight back. I have a strong will and would not just be submissive.

I also think God puts people in others' lives in order to have an impact on them for better or for worse. As what Sam said above, Shug obviously made a positive impact on Celie. Her place in Celie's live helped her get back on her feet and fight against Mr.___, which is commendable.

Ben K. 13-14 said...

I think it is much easier to come to terms with oppression than to fight it. Fighting oppression means sacrifice and going through a lot of hardship. Giving into it, while painful and hard, is the easier choice because it requires no resistance.

I think people can have very big impacts on others. Many people have been known to move entire countries simply because they are so loved. Look at Gandhi, for example. By simply not eating, he was able to stop a civil war completely. In this novel, Shug probably is a ray of hope for Celie in a similar way.

Ben K. 13-14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew F. 11-12 said...

Most people keep their emotions about oppression inside them. Most people are embarrassed that their husband would do that to them so they do not want other people to know. This is where the medication and unhealthy methods of coping come into play. Its easier to crawl into a bottle or pop a pill rather than stand up to the oppression.

Elissar D. 13-14 said...

I agree with everybody. Those who are weaker and passive like Celie have a harder time fighting for what they believe in. Sophia is very strong and she does not let her husband make her feel inferior. She believes that she is just as powerful as he is. People should always fight for what they think is right, they should not just sit back and let something like oppression take over their lives.

Jessica R. 13-14 said...

I agree, and I think that it is definitely easier to accept oppression that it is to fight it, which is why many people do so.

I also think that certain people can definitely have a strong impact (whether positively or negatively) on someone else's life, oftentimes without even knowing it.

Haley L 13-14 said...

Well, I believe this depends on the person and in which way the person impacts them. I would say some people are more impressionable than others and if that person is deeply affected by someone else than it could change their lives for better or for worse. The person who could change your life must be a very convincing person and what they do must be extremly good or extremly bad for it to change this persons life. I agree with Jessica, I think it is easier to accept oppression than it is to fight it.

BrandonM 11-12 said...

I agree that for most people, especially those who are weaker, it is easier for them to just bottle everything up inside of them. A strong person generally does not get oppressed in the first place, only those who are weak to begin with get oppressed for a long time. As for the 2nd part, I think people can have a large influence on others. Peer pressure often gets to teens, as well as adults, making them do things they might not have normally done. Also, when people care for others they tend to do things they normally wouldn't do, though usually this involves becoming a stronger, better person.

Diane H. 13-14 said...

It is easier to for most people to come to terms with oppression than fight it. It takes power and self-known strength to be able to overthrow the oppressive force. Fighting oppression can have two outcomes, either a person gains their independence, or they are still oppressed. Many people don't want to face the chance of remaining oppressed so they choose to accept oppression.

David R. 13-14 said...

It probably depends on the person whether they come to terms with oppression or fight it. People who don't look for trouble or don't stand up for themselves will probably just come to terms with it. People who want to fight or stand up for themselves will fight it. And I think that one person can be the difference between a drug addict and a CEO of a major corporation. People always have someone they look up to and ask for guidance. Their life depends on that person's responses.

Jonathan M. 11-12 said...

I think the easy answer for most anything is to sit back and just let it happen. It would be far easier to simply let it go than it would be to get up and resist the oppression. Additionally, I think that people can have enormous impacts on others. Both for better or worse. A person is what their influences are.

Samer S. 13-14 said...

I agree with Jon in that most people would find it easier to stay oppressed and just find a way to live with it rather than fighting it. We simply don't do that, as our natural instinct would detect it as harmful to our existence. In a situation like this it could mean disastrous results if one oppresses the common belief of the people. That said, if they don't have a fear of death then it wouldn't matter, and it would be easier to fight the oppression. We just read this in Antigone

Elissar D. 13-14 said...

I am also in agreement that people can have a huge impact on another person's life without even knowing it. The impact may have a postive outcome or it may impact the person negatively. Like Brandon said, peer pressure is a great example. People may do things that seem out of character only because they see other people they envy or admire doing it too. People like to fit in with the rest of society, so they can easily be influenced to do the wrong thing.

Annie C. 11-12 said...

I think people can have a huge impact on others. People get mixed up in the wrong crowd all the time and their lives are changed for the worse because their friends have a negative influence on them. A truly caring person can impact someone's life for the better and turn their life around.

Kara S 11-12 said...

I agree that a person or a bunch of people can have a huge impact on someone. Young kids especially can be influenced and inspired by professional athletes, teachers and their parents. If it has a negative or positive impact depends on how much the parent or whoever pushes to change someone.

Brooke B. 13/14 said...

It is obviously easier to comes to terms with oppression in most cases. It's easier to be unhappy and remain silent than to fight back. In regards to the last question, people are always changing other peoples' lives. If someone strives to be like someone else, or wishes for their acceptance, of deeply cares about them then they can be influenced by that person a great deal.

Mike B. 11-12 said...

I think it is easier for people to accept and live with the oppresion and wrongs conflicting them in their lives, but it takes a stronger person to fight it and stay up for some reason.

Becca L. 13-14 said...

It is much easier to come to terms with oppression than to fight it. Fighting it takes courage and strength that many people just don't have, especially since oppression can cause major damage to one's self-confidence. People can definitely have strong impacts on others. People are easily influenced by those they admire and those they feel inferior to. And if someone has been oppressed, they are more likely to have a negative self-image, and therefore are more likely to listen to the influence of others.

Jim K. 11-12 said...

For the first question, I agree that it is more likely for the feeble-minded to succumb to the will of others. Strong-willed individuals will most certainly fight back against being oppressed. As for the second question, I believe it all depends on how attached the person is to the one that is potentially influencing them. For example, you're more likely going to do what a loved one wants you to do than some random stranger, right? (Disregarding potential consequences for not following what they want you do, in the case of authority).

Jake D. 11-12 said...

I think most people will eventually break down and just accept oppression because they may realize that there is nothing that can be done, depending on what the circumstances are. I do, however, think that people have the ability to have a very strong impact on other people and change their lives for the better.

Ms.Frank said...

Thread closed.

James F (11-12) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.