The Color Purple

From Academic Kids

This article is about the novel. For the color itself, see purple

Missing image
The Color Purple book cover

The Color Purple is a 1982 novel by Alice Walker which received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The Color Purple is an epistolary novel: that is, the book is written in the form of letters. The central character is Celie, a young woman who is sexually abused by her father (who, she later discovers, is her stepfather) and is forced to marry a widower with several children, who is physically abusive towards her.

When her husband's mistress, singer "Shug" Avery, comes on the scene, life changes for Celie and she learns how to stand up for herself. The women go away together and start a successful business. Celie is reunited with the sister she believed dead.

This book is often argued to address many issues which are important to understanding African-American life during the early-mid 20th century. Its main theme is the position of the black woman in society, as the lowest of the low, put upon both because of her gender and her color. The book also deals with the idea of how Celie finds true emotional and physical love with Avery.

The book was made into a 1985 film by Steven Spielberg, starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey, with music by Quincy Jones. This movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Actress for Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for both Avery and Winfrey) but saw none of them awarded. The big Oscar winner that year was instead the colonial drama Out of Africa, a twist which many considered proof of the racial bias in Hollywood.

Other critics pointed out to the controversy that occured during the production of the film as the reason for it getting snubbed by the Academy. Some African American civil rights leaders were upset that the film was being directed by Spielberg, who had no personal or professional experience to draw on while producing a film based on a book that digs very deeply into being a disadvantaged, and abused, black woman that finds empowerment and love through her relationship with another woman. Many feminist and gay critics were upset that Spielberg felt the need to interject humor into the film (reducing Celie's abuse to an 'aw sucks' battle of the sexes) and turning the lesbian love into platonic girlie bonding.

On September 9, 2004, the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia premiered The Color Purple: A New Musical directed by Gary Griffin. With a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, the Broadway-bound work presents the story in yet another form.

ISBN numbers

Preceded by:
Rabbit Is Rich
by John Updike
(1982 winner)
Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction Succeeded by:
by William Kennedy
(1984 winner)

Template:Steven Spielberg's films

de:Die Farbe Lila nl:The Color Purple pt:The Color Purple


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools