The characters can be described as raging, unprincipled creatures for many reasons. They rape their own relatives, as Mr. Hodges did to Squeak, plus what Mr. Alphonso did to Celie, “… first he put his thing up against my hip and sorta wiggle it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. ” This is a powerful example because of the crude sexual references towards abuse, the strong imagery created by Walker’s choice of words, that shocks the reader with its directness and the colloquialisms used by Celie reflect her thoughts, it makes the comments more personal.
The explicit language used is also of a juvenile nature, it shows Celie’s youth, and her innocence, now robbed from her by a man. Not only do the men keep grudges for many years because their carnal desires were refused, as was the true with Albert, Celie and Nettie; when Albert kept Nettie’s letters away from Celie, because Nettie didn’t let Albert rape her. Moreover, the fact that Mr. Alphonso interfered with the strongest bond possible, the bond between mother and child, when he twice took Celie’s children away from her, “He took it.
He took it while I was sleeping. Kilt it out there in the woods. Kill this one too, if he can. ” This may be interpreted as Mr. Alphonso having such hatred for Celie, that instead of saying he gave her children away, that he killed them, adding to Celie’s grief. Alternatively, this may be seen as compassion or remorse from Mr. Alphonso, who instead of killing Celie’s children, gave them to a good home, because the children are later discovered by Celie.
However, this still adds to the fact that the characters are unprincipled, raging creatures, because Mr.Alphonso took Celie’s children no matter how it is interpreted. As the anonymous critic says, “… the men… are not all good guys… ” Brown even admits that they are, “… sad examples. ” In addition, Walker has indicated in her novel, that the men feel inferior when they are compared to other men, and how other men control their wives, and therefore abuse the women because of their inferiority. It is reflected in the quote by Harpo, when he speaks to Celie, saying, “I want her to do what I say, like you do for Pa.
” (page 56) This is Harpo feeling inferior because his wife is unable to be controlled by him. He feels that he is less of a man because of this, love is important to Harpo, but power over his wife is of a greater importance. This example can be compared to Celie, who is controlled by Pa, who uses violence against her. “He beat me today… ” As, in an essay by Goodman and Digby, it was said that, “We might guess that the beating is imposed on Celie not because of anything she has done, but rather to remind her that she is her fathers property.
” The men in The Color Purple also treat women like slaves. Mr. Alphonso rapes Celie for his own pleasure, and keeps her for the completion of domestic chores. It could be seen that Celie’s situation is analogous to those of a slave woman; as Maroula Joannou says, “… she is forced to bear children and then separated from them, forced to marry a man who doesn’t love her then her husband treats her like an unpaid servant and she is haggled over by men who regard her as a marketable commodity. ” “I go stand in the door.
He’s still up on his horse. He look me up and down. ” Arguably, this may be because the view at the time was that women were only seen as being good for the completion of household work, and were seen as lesser class citizens by men. Some critics have also criticised Celie for being pacifistic, as she doesn’t attempt to retaliate to the beatings she receives. In opposition, Maroula Joannou states that, “To criticise her for her passivity is to do so in ignorance of fear which male violence produces in women.
” Lorraine Gamman concurs, saying that towards the end of the novel, Celie has become, “… empowered to reject the role of passive victim… ” Even though the view is biased, I believe that if there were more good characters in the novel, like Samuel, then the message that is in the book would be diluted, and would therefore be of a lesser quality than to what it is. As the anonymous critic argued, the novel is about black women, not about black men; they are but devices in the book which make the plot more substantiated and realistic for the reader.
Take for example Harpo, he gives realism to the novel because he shows the reader an image of a man that can be dominated by a woman, even though he tries in vain to be malicious towards Sofia, he just fails, abysmally, and ends up being beaten savagely by Sofia. “… it Harpo and Sofia. They fighting like two mens. ” Even though the book has caused controversy between both of the sexes, Walker’s message has been superbly delivered, in this hard hitting realistic novel that gives a moving account of the struggle that some black women had to endure, yet, happily, triumphed through.