The Color Purple In The Color Purple there was a very common theme, which was strong female relationships and how much power they bring. Throughout The Color Purple, the author, Alice Walker, recognizes and acknowledges the role of strong female relationships, whether it’s between a country, or a family, or a friendship. These relationships in The Color Purple often helped women build up the courage to tell their stories. In result it granted the women with the strength to resist dominance and/or abuse. Female relationships often act as a getaway from the everyday world filled with male violence, male demands, and male abuse.
Female relationships come in many forms, whether it’s motherly or sisterly, teacher to student, some that are sexual and some that are in the form of a friendship. Sofia has a strong female relationship with her sisters which is where she claims her ability to fight came from. Sofia’s relationship with Harpo, her husband, is slightly different from others such as Celie’s and Mr. ___‘s. In Sofia’s relationship with Harpo, Sofia is the dominant partner, Sofia doesn’t let Harpo push her around, and when Harpo can’t even control Sofia and demand her to do what he commands, he goes to Celie for advice.
Celie tells Harpo to beat Sofia into listening to him. Celie gives him this advice, not because she hates Sofia and wants to hurt her, but because that’s what Albert (Mr. ___) would do, and since Harpo is his oldest son, and that’s what she always thought was the way men did things, that’s what she told Harpo to do to Sofia. Due to the strong relationship Sofia did have with her sisters, she has the courage to be dominant and not take orders or abuse from her husband. Harpo does attempt to beat Sofia into listening but due to her strength, he gets hurt more than she does whenever he attempts beating her.
Harpo is the weak one in the relationship who ends up having to try and gain weight just so he can beat his wife so she obeys him. Sofia’s dominant female role which developed from her strong female relationship is what gave her the strength, and will to refuse taking abuse from her husband. Nettie’s relationship with Celie is what pushes Nettie through her years of living in unfamiliar places, which are also of unfamiliar cultures throughout Africa, doing missionaries.
Without Nettie’s and Celie’s strong relationship, Nettie would have never had the courage to stay doing the missionaries around Africa. Nettie’s strong power of communication, such as the letters she sent Celie, is what kept both of them anchored. Although Celie was kept from those letters and had no idea they existed, when she was told about them and found them, the knowledge that Nettie was still alive and was trying to communicate with her all of the time she was living with Mr. ___, is what kept her truly anchored.
Nettie’s strong relationship with her sister also led to the discovery of the adopted parents of Celie’s birth children, Nettie met and realized that the adopted children of the couple were Celie’s actual birth children while she was on the missionary which was unbelievable. Samuel mentions that the strong relationship among the Olinka women was the only thing that kept the polygamy bearable. Celie’s relationship with Albert’s (Mr. ___’s) sister, Kate, also develops into a relationship that brings benefits for Celie.
Kate tells Albert that Celie needs to go shopping for new items, such as clothes and other personal items. Although the relationship between Kate and Celie isn’t the strongest of relationships, it still represents the strong female relationships and what good they bring for the women a part of them. Most importantly, Celie’s attachment to Shug brings about Celie’s self confidence, identity, redemption, her sanity to stay with Mr. ___, and her sanity to continue on with life. Both of them help each other become what they really need to be and who they truly are.
Both women were oppressed, Celie was oppressed by her lack of caring and by her lack of self-esteem, Shug is oppressed by other people’s image of her. Shug is not able to become who she wants to be due to the other people’s image of her. Shug isn’t even able to marry her lover Mr. ___ because Mr. ___’s family does not believe she is a good enough woman, which is reflected upon by her image. Celie describes them as both “little lost babies” because they are both trying to truly find their identities.
Through their strong female relationship they actually do begin to discover their true identities, they share their “girl” knowledge, and help each other make it through. Celie and Shug’s relationship results in Celie gaining her trust and the courage to finally tell someone, turning out to be Shug, about her abuse from her stepfather Alphonso and about the abuse she takes from Mr. ___ also, which then leads to Shug’s new decision to stay with Celie instead of leaving. Shug and Celie build an even closer bond which helps both of them live appier lives and step back from reality once in a while when they have their “girl talks. ” Shug and Celie keep each other at a point where they can both be happy at times instead of always being miserable. Strong female relationships play a large role in life with many people, societies, countries, and even in the simple “every day” house hold. In a strong female relationship such as Shug’s and Celie’s or Nettie’s and Celie’s, confidence can be gained, courage can be gained, identities can be found and much more can be gained by something so simple, but also so complex, such as a strong female relationship.