This book starts with a memory of Celie of her father telling her to never speak of his abuse to her. Then the remaining of the novel consists of letters. Her first letter was to God. She begins to ask God to help her because she was confused on what was going on with her. When Celie was fourteen she was already pregnant with her second child. This was due to the rape and incest of her father. Her father, whose name is Alphonso, turned to Celie to satisfy his sexual urges because her mother was very sick which made her incapable to endure Alphonso’s sexual demands. Regarding the level of abuse Celie has been through in the hands of her father, she still manages to build strength throughout her weaknesses as well as several other characters in this novel (Walker, 115). Personal strength can be explained as transferable skills that is transferred from one situation to the next. Some include people skills, planning skills, and the analytical problem-solving skills. Personal traits and personal strengths are very similar. Personal traits refer uniqueness of a person. For example, flexibility, dependability, and working hard among others (Walker, 72).
Personal strengths in this book are exhibited through the protagonist, Celie. Throughout the novel we see how everything was stripped away from her, for this reason she decides to flip the script and take control after all the years of being controlled. There is more in store for this character than we thought because she beautifully begins to change. As the story goes on, she really starts to grow and develop. In the Celie was victimized and oppressed her only way out was to write letters to the only one she thought that could save her, God, because she was forbidden to ever speak of what she was going through. Celie had only the mindset to survive neglecting the thought to fight. Strength in her is exhibited by how she transformed from the victimized and oppressed character to taking charge and finally being independent. All of what she has being through made her believe men was all trouble. She says that whenever there’s a man, there is trouble (Walker, 205).
Sofia’s strength is also expressed verbally and how she had to fight all her life. She continues saying she had to fight her family including her father, brother, and her cousins. However, there was a weakness detected in a statement said saying that a girl child isn’t safe in a family full of men. This statement may true to some people, but doesn’t apply everywhere. This can be stereotyping and can be the character’s weakness (Walker, 40). Sofia shows a strength of characterizing like a man. She breaks the cage of stereotyping of women by fighting her husband. Her attitude seems to suggest that she made resolutions with her life and that no man will ever trouble her. She exhibits a personal strength of having independence and direct personality. She acts like man (Walker, 40).
It is essential to understand that this book was narrated in first person and that it’s difficult to know if the audience is reading the author’s opinion or that of the character. It’s easy to think that Celie is the projection of the author’s emotions of the southern culture and the sex prejudice that was known at that time setting. The author does a tremendous job by keeping the reader intact but still informing a very important history lesson, with a style of both subtle and blindly. Character’s growth and expressions of personality are all done through imagery. There are random quotations regarding color and texture which happens to be parallelisms of a character’s exact emotions (Walker, 102).
Some of the initiatives that the author makes to highlight areas of character’s strengths and weaknesses shows the true traits of them. The author does this by the use of quotes uttered during a given situation and by showing a characters’ perception of particular issues. Walker also shows the correlation between one character to another. She highlights the strengths and weaknesses in a character by revealing the impacts a given character has on the other regarding their relationship. In this way, the audience can determine the strengths and weaknesses of the particular character (Walker, 247).
The relationship between Shug and Celie highlights some areas of strengths and weaknesses. In the book Shug is described as an alluring woman. She is an entertaining singer. She is more so entertaining not by just her role in the story, but because she is basically that light Celie needed to see to climb out that deep dark shadow that her weaknesses was keeping her hostage. Shug Avery is the source of the reason Celie becomes an independent woman, through the book she doesn’t change very much she is more of the same. She is presented as a sex symbol or more of being very good at loving which in her case is her strength but a weakness simultaneously. It is a weakness because she loves entirely too much. Walker portrays Shug as a person that cannot be in a committed relationship and someone that needs to be adored and admired by others. She is also depicted as the reason why Celie is lesbian (Walker, 247).
Walker uses Nettie who is Celie’s younger sister to show the perfect example of a good life. Nettie’s strength was portrayed by her living with an independent lifestyle. She is the complete opposite of Celie. Another strength Nettie hold is that she is educated and untouched by men. However, all this happens to be Celie’s sacrifice. Celie indirectly protected her younger sister even though she wasn’t a fighter (Walker, 237).
Walker also uses the language to show the difference between strengths and weaknesses of Celie and her younger sister Nettie as well as emphasizing on how Celie transitions throughout the story. It’s the use of language that the reader can know whether a character has had formal education or not. In the beginning through speech the author reflects Celie’s childhood and lack of formal education. Noticeably she happens to use shorter sentences with improper grammar. This shows a weakness of Celie. In her statements, she uses more complex sentences that have diverse vocabularies. This defines her strength in communication (Walker, 238). Alice Walker also uses tone. Through the novel the tone was somewhat bitter, but still holding to bits of forgotten hope characterized by the personal tragedy and Celie’s immense loss. He builds relationships with those around her regardless of the traumatic life she holds.
In conclusion, through the book the author used many different character and themes to exhibit areas of a character’s strength and their weaknesses. The several letters told in this novel emphasizes much on self-expression in developing one’s sense of self.
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