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Publisher Description

Since its publication in 1982, Alice Walker's third novel The Color Purple has confronted with both appreciation and denunciation. Despite the fact that this novel won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for fiction in 1983, the storm of attacks never ceased and culminated in October 2004 in the banning of this book from the shelf of school classrooms and libraries. The opposing voices particularly coming from the black community mainly direct at the nasty language with which the protagonist Celie narrates her story, at the lesbian relation between Celie and Shug Avery, at the exaggeration of domestic violence in black family and more harshly at the stereotypes of black men as brutal and immoral. Even so, many readers who sympathize with the pains black people especially black women have to suffer have not failed to see the power of this book in enhancing the close tie between black women, in celebrating the self-actualization of black women in the male-dominated society and in converting male violence into tenderness and humaneness. Written in epistolary form, The Color Purple begins with Celie's confession of her having been repeatedly raped by her stepfather when she was 14 years old, and ends with the happy family union with her two grown-up children and with her sister Nettie. Throughout the book Celie goes through a hard but inspiring process of metamorphosis from self-negation to self-actualization, from a life without joy and hope to a life full of love. Besides Celie, many other characters such as Shug Avery, Albert, Harpo, Sofia and Mary Agnes all have more or less undergone a certain transformation. In the light of the growth of characters and the delightful ending of the book, The Color Purple, with Celie in the forefront, can be termed as a modern interpretation of the traditional allegory in which the characters finally reach the state of self-fulfillment and the state of perfection through pains.

May 1
Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture

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