Genesis Cuevas Eng/queer Lit346 Professor Schneiderman November 30, 2018 Paper # 3- Putting it all Together Throughout Alice Walker’s The Color Purple’ she uses two opposite characters such as Celie and Shug Avery who come together when abuse takes place. Both of these characters epitomize a characteristic that in some way brings them together. Shug represents an independent and bigoted character. While Celie is represented as compliant and low self-valued individual. Although most reviewers identify the Color Purple as a novel about a woman who hates black men, the main idea should be viewed as how Celie finds herself through an unexpected lesbian relationship. Critics mention that the whole objective of this novel is to make black men look bad, as Celie is accused of betraying black men to be lesbian.
However, this novel undeniably depicts Celie’s journey to liberation through her self discovery with Shug, that could have resulted in her distasteful feeling towards men after continuous abuse. Despite critics considering The color purple to be the main proposition to disfavor black Men, the main focus should be Celie’s self-growth. As critic Aide Edematiam mentions in her review She was accused of betraying her race, of hating black men, of damaging black male and female relationships, of being a lesbian (Theguardian.com). Despite Celie unexpectedly forming an intimate relationship with a woman, Celie endures unending abuse from men throughout her life. The men throughout her life never displayed an ounce of love to Celie but taught her to feel unworthy by calling her ugly and beating her repeatedly. Then comes Shug. Although Celie’s first impression of Shug we very cruel, as the first thing Shug tells Celie is ?you sure is ugly’ (p.44), she comes off as a pessimistic individual. Subsequently, it then becomes clear to Celie that Shug is truly a caring and warmhearted individual. She realizes this when Celie comes to her rescue and takes care of her while she’s sick. Celie begins to have feelings that she had never come across. As quoted in The Color Purple She say, well take a good look. Even if I is just a bag of bones now. She have the nerve to put one hand on her naked hip and bat her eyes at me. Then she suck her teef and roll her eyes at the ceiling while I wash her. I wash her body, it feel like I’m praying. My hands tremble and my breath short. (49).
For the first time, Celie is having a physical attraction to another person. She’s thrilled at the sight of Shug’s naked body. Another critic mentions that The color purple is mainly about male dominance. Rather than the color purple being about male domination, it should be seen as how Celie overcame being dominated by men (Crossref-it.info). At the very beginning, Celie is just a lonely black girl, living a life with no love in it what so ever. The only girl Celie ever loved was her sister Nettie. I agree Celie’s encounter with Shug changed her view on life. Shug demonstrated her strength and constantly defended herself from any kind of abuse from men. This is what ultimately brings Celie to admire her in the first place. As Celie and Shug spend more time together they grow closer to one another and open up to each other. Shug finds out how poorly Celie has been treated, especially from Mr. Albert, who is Shug’s ex-love. Shug then expresses her disgust towards all the mistreatment Celie has gone through. This brings them to bonding, and eventually, the bond turns sexual once Celie expresses her uninterested toward sex. Shug makes Celie look at her private area into the mirror, and learns what it looks like, as well as learning the pleasure parts. This opens Celie to self-discovery and discovery of her body.
It has now allowed Celie to own her body because she never experienced any positive experience with the men she has been with. Being that Shug brought Celie to the stage of intimacy and learning of her own body, it helps her to develop a stronger persona. Overall, Shug and Celie’s relationship is very symbolic because it displays Celie’s ability to finally be able to express her true feelings to another individual other than her sister Nettie. Shug’s role at this point, is such as a mother figure, giving Celie the openness to be able to confide in her. Till Shug and Celie kiss and hug, Celie finally feels safe and loved. Evidently, Shug and Celie learn from each other and through their lesbian relationship they became better an stronger individuals. So, rather than this novel to be viewed as a story about a woman who hates black men, it should be view as a woman overcoming abuse from men and being able to grow through her lesbian experience. Shug helped Celie evolve, and leave behind the idea that being dominated by men was no longer an option. She now has control of her mind, body, and soul.
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