Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple, follows Celie down the winding road of her life. As a poor black girl living in the South, Celie endures and overcomes many hardships. As the novel opens, the readers learn that she has been raped repeatedly by her father, then later is forced into a loveless marriage with a man who treats her like a slave. Celie does not stand up for herself, and therefore gets taken advantage of in many ways, but through the friendships that she takes part in, she eventually learns to stand up for herself. “Celie is a terrorized, passive girl with little belief in herself who undergoes a major transformation in attitude and becomes a …courageous and willful woman” (Taylor, Masterpieces 107). Though the characters of Nettie and Sofia play an important role in the development of Celie’s life, it is Shug who plays the most important role by teaching and encouraging her to find pride, self-esteem, strength, and love. Sofia is a fighter and indirectly teaches Celie to stand up for herself. In the South, during the 1930’s, blacks worked for whites, and black women were expected to “mind” their husbands. Sofia does not fit this norm, in fact, she defies it. Sofia is married to Celie’s step-son, Harpo, yet refuses to be pushed around by him. She has had to fight “all [her] life” (Walker 42), for as a black women, it is her only defense against black men and a white society. Sofia tries to solve all of her problems by means of physical violence. While this may not be the best way to deal with her hardships, it is good for Celie to see that it is possible for a black women to stand up for herself and to fight for her rights. When Harpo tries to control Sofia, she fights back, beating him, and exposing her will to fight for what she believes in. Celie’s traditional values come out when she gives Harpo the suggestion to beat Sofia to get her to listen to him. When Sofia hears about this, she immediately…
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