March 2024

The Color Purple


By Alice Walker


In the novel The Color Purple (1982) author Alice Walker present a touching story about the lives of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, born in rural Georgie in the early 20th century. The novel focuses on the story of Celie, who is abused by her stepfather and married to a man, Mr.___, who desires Nettie over her. The sisters are then separated and Celie continues to life in rural Georgie and faces turmoil in her marriage. Her salvation is when she finds support and solidarity from her husbands mistress, Shug Avery, whom she also creates a strong bond with. The novel has a more cheerful ending where the family is reunited.


The book is beautifully written in the forms of letters, written both by a young Celie to God and later in the book, when the sisters are grown up, between an adult Celie and Nettie. The novel very skillfully address colorism, in not a direct way, but the sisters different stories can be seen through the lenses of colorism and how racial differences, such as skin tone and hair texture, shape their lives. The novel also dwell into more difficult, traumatic and suffering topics, such as sexual abuse and violence, thereby is not for all audiences.


The book has been banned in certain schools across the United States ever since 1984, only two years after its publication. The book has also more recently, as of 2022, been removed from schools and library shelfs. The ban has been “justified” do the already mentioned explicit content, but also due to featuring pornographic content, a same sex story line and notes of critical race theory.  However, banning Alice’s acclaimed book, which has even twice been adapted to movies  (in 1985 and 2023) and featured well-known directors and actors along with being both times nominated for various Oscar awards, doesn’t erase the many real experiences that the story address. For instance, many who have experience trauma, like the protagonist, have express feelings of recognition and not being alone after reading the novel.


Alice Walker is an internationally renowned poet, novelist, feminist and a vocal advocate for human rights. She also won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award in 1983 for her book The Color Purple.


See also:

‘The Color Purple’: One of America’s most beloved—and banned—books (

Banned Books Week: Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” | by Matthew Teutsch | Medium