Sunday, February 14, 2010

The color of your skin

The Color Purple [COLOR PURPLE ANNIV/E 10/E]The Color Purple (Alice Walker) is a compilation of letters.

It begins with note from Celie, a 14-year-old girl who narrates a rape incident that involves her and her stepfather. She writes, "He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it."

The letters are addressed to God. In the next letters, Celie writes that her mother is dead, and now she wants to protect her younger sister Nettie from their stepfather. He has his eyes on the little kid.

As they grow up, Celie does everything in her power to protect Nettie. When Celie is forced to marry, Nettie eventually escapes their stepfather and becomes a missionary in Africa.

Years pass. Celie's husband prevents all form of communication between the sisters. Celie doesn't know Nettie has been writing her letters. They don't know if the other one is still alive.

The book is beautifully imagined. It's painfully heart-wrenching. And it's exceptionally well-written. This is clearly Alice Walker's masterpiece: a poignant picture of the joys, pains, struggles, and abuses against the black people in Southern America.

I'd like to share my favorite lines in the book, a conversation between Celie and her husband, just before the book ends:
Anyhow, he say, you know how it is.
You ast yourself one question, it lead to fifteen. I start to wonder why us need love. Why us suffer. Why us black. Why us men and women. Where do children really come from. It didn't take long to realize I didn't hardly know nothing. And that if you ast yourself why you black or a man or a woman or a bush it doesn't mean nothing if you don't ast why you here, period.
So what you think?, I ast.

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ast. And that in wondering bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.
Amazing.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Lance! Good thing you're into African American Lit. Tama ka, grabe gd ang brownout. So the best way to kill time? Read, read, read. Subong nga summer kay Beloved (by Toni Morrison) ginbasa ko. intense kaayo. and I also watched the film adaptation of the color purple. whoopi (celie) and oprah (sofia) played their characters very well. ingats!

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  2. Chip, thanks for dropping by! Sige, I'll go look for Beloved, too. And I agree with you on the The Color Purple movie. I didn't get to watch the entire film; didn't catch the beginning because I watched it in Hallmark.

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