Slow Reads: The Color Purple Week 2

The idea for this recurring posts is to read a book over the course of 4-6 weeks, and each week to delve deeply into what has been read the previous week. This will allow for a more interesting analysis of the meaning of the book, and allow me to make predictions, in a way that isn’t possible with book reviews. Reading over a number of weeks also lets you read along at home at the same time, which will hopefully enrich the discussion.

Spoiler warning obviously


The horrific acts have continued this week, but the constant bombardment of atrocities are making me more numb to them. Perhaps this is purposeful, so that I can empathize better with Celie.

I want to start with Sofia, because the misfortune that befell her struck me hardest. She got 12 years in prison for refusing to work for the mayor’s wife as a maid, and then punching the mayor after he struck her first. Then she got out on good behaviour to work for the mayor’s wife anyway. The utter injustice of this really gets to me. What’s saddest is that Sofia is a strong woman brought low for being strong. While she is in prison, she needs to act passive and emulated Celie to survive. This just reinforces societal expectations.

Meanwhile, Celie is slowly starting to become her own woman finally. Shug is helping her discover her own femininity, and it’s touching to see. I think Celie is jealous of Shug’s carefree nature, and wants to be just like her, while still being too timid to achieve that aim.

Likewise, Shug is branded a whore for being able to stick up for herself, and while she might have a rough exterior, she is still caring, much more so than those who call her a whore. She is protective of Celie, and will not move out until she knows Mr —– won’t beat her when she leaves. However, I’m skeptical that Grady will be good for her. We’ll see where it goes.

Harpo has also undergone interesting developments this week. I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him, since Sofia moved out. He wants to be the man society asks him to be, but is torn because he knows that person isn’t a decent human. That person also costs him his wife, who he clearly still loves more than his current girlfriend, Squeak. I’m expecting him to become more like his father, Mr —–, as time goes on, and to prey upon the weaker Squeak, who won’t have the power to leave him once she is pregnant. I really hope I’m wrong though, because this would be a terrible way for him to go.

I’m also holding out hope that Nessie is still alive, since she has been referenced a couple more times this week, but I’m less hopeful than last week.

For next week, I’m reading to page 151 in my copy, ending just before ‘Dearest Celie, I meant to write you in time for Easter…’.

Let me know how you’re finding this week’s section. What affected you the most? Do you think Grady is trouble? Is Nessie still alive? Is there hope for Celie to find herself with Shug’s help? Also, let me know what you think about these articles. Are there any improvements you’d like to see?

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