“The Color Purple,” is a novel written by Alice Walker and it follows the lives of the main character Celie and her younger sister Nettie. They both exchange letters throughout the novel about the events transpiring in their lives. In this essay it will become evident that the poverty and poorly developed society in this novel had a negative impact on the main character morally, and physically. “The Color Purple” is set in rural Georgia during 1910-1940(Book Drum), during the 1800s there were many slaves in Georgia (Bellamy).
It is implied in the novel that the main characters in the book are descendants of slaves because in a letter to Celie, Nettie says “Millions and millions of Africans were captured and sold into slavery—you and me, Celie! ”(Walker 139). During this time there was a lot going on for the colored people in the south. This novel is set before the African American Civil Rights Movement and when African-Americans were still being affected by the Jim Crow laws (Book Drum).
The Jim Crow laws were a set of laws which stated that everything for African-Americans should be separate but “equal” (Pilgrim, D. D). The main character Celie grows up in an impoverished society which has a negative impact on her. Due to the impoverished and flawed society the morals were not of any standard. An example of this is when Celie gets raped by her stepfather Fonso. “You better not never tell nobody but god. It’d kill your mammy” (Walker 1). Fonso says this to Celie after he rapes her and does not feel much remorse because he does it repeatedly.
It is also implied that he was going to rape Nettie as well “Sometime he still be looking at Nettie, but I always get in his light” (Walker 5). This proves that the society did not have acceptable morals. The society in this novel was undeveloped and lacked solid laws, due to this Celie constantly suffered physical abuse from her stepfather and husband. “He beat me for dressing trampy but he do it anyway” (Walker 7). This is one of the many examples of Celie suffering from physical abuse. “Well how you spect to make her mind?
Wives is like children. You have to let ’em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do that better than a good sound beating” (Walker 35). This quote is said by Albert after Harpo says Sophia isn’t listening to him, this quote proves that in their society the men thought they were superior to women and that they had to have control over the women and to accomplish this they beat them. This obviously had a negative impact on Celie because she fell victim to this many times and developed a fear of men. “That’s the truth.
I look at women, tho, cause im not scared of them” (Walker 5). In conclusion, the society in “The Color Purple” was impoverished and weakly developed. During this time period males were clearly the dominant gender and this caused a lot of difficulty for the women in the novel. The society clearly had a negative impact on the main character Celie because it negatively affected her morally and caused her to go through a lot of physical abuse.
Bellamy. “Macon, Georgia, 1823-1860 a Study in Urban Slavery . ” jstor. org. N. . , n. d. Web. 16 Apr 2012. ;http://www. jstor. org/discover/10. 2307/274910? uid=3739448;uid=2129;uid=2;uid=70;uid=3737720;uid=4;sid=56048229763;. Pilgrim, D. D.. “What Was Jim Crow?. ” Ferris education. Ferris State University, 2011. Web. 21 Apr 2012. ;http://www. ferris. edu/jimcrow/what. htm;. . “The Color Purple – Setting. ” Book Drum. N. p. , 2009. Web. 21 Apr 2012. ;http://www. bookdrum. com/books/the-color-purple/9780753818923/setting. html;. Donnie. D, Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. London: Women’s Press, 1992. Print.