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The Power of one's Voice - the Color Purple

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The Power of One's Voice

Book: The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Theme Statement: In order to find one's voice, one must be empowered to discover their

own identity.

"They are like white people at home who didn't want colored people to learn" (Letter 62). In one of the letters Nettie wrote Celie, she discussed how Olivia observed the sexists society of the African tribe, Olinka, and compares it to that of the racists and sexists idealism in America. Even though the emancipation of slavery happened hundreds of years before the setting of this novel, many African Americans were enslaved, but no longer by their slave masters, but by their society. At that time many African Americans did not know how to read or write and since standing up against the white man resulted in serve consequences, they could not see how the consequences could be worth the education. They did not have the empowerment to discover their own identity or even their own purpose in life. They did not know of any other life other than that of what the white man had enslaved them in.

Since Celie was a child she was told, "you better not never tell nobody but God." And that's what she did. She kept her opinions and thoughts only between her and God. She adapted a passive thinking towards the constant abuse from both her stepfather and her husband, Mr.____. Not until Celie was empowered by Shug and Nettie did she stand up for herself and discovered her own identity. "I'm pore, I'm black, I may be ugly and can't cookÐ'...But I'm here. (Letter 75). All her life Celie was told who she was and what she should think, finally she found her voice. By being empowered, she was able to empower so many others.

After discovering her voice, there was no stopping Celie. She spoke her mind and because of that, she helped empower Sofia by telling Harbo, "Ð'...if you hadn't tried to rule over Sofia the white folks never would have caught her." Only then does Sofia Ð''come back from the grave' and take back her own voice, her own identity. Only after years of prison, constant spiritual and physical beatings does Sofia find the strength to become the person she once was, an outspoken, independent



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