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Books Finished: The Color Purple Alice Walker (1001 Booklist)

Currently Reading:
The Devil and Miss Prym Paulo Coelho (1001 Booklist)
The Lost Estate Alain Fournier
I have never had so many books on the go. Six in total. That is a mammoth list. I look at the pile next to me and I wonder just how many of these can I squeeze into February. Right now it’s looking like the Coelho or the Guevara might just make it. The Morrison will definitely NOT. There are days when I feel like all this reading is going to amount to something, but what that will be, I have no idea.
Right now, I’m stumbling through titles that I thought I’d read, but I’d actually left half-finished. The Color Purple was one of them. It was an inspirational book despite the awful things that happen to the characters. The themes of incest, rape and lesbianism were worked into the story in a way that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might. The love of one woman to another did not strike me as particularly shocking or forbidden… given the terrible things the female characters go through.

Walker raises important questions about love, hope and what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society. Even though the book is set in the early 1900’s when slavery was still fresh in the minds of African Americans, Walker also concentrates on the oppression that was prevalent within black society. Or rather more precisely, the domestic violence against black women.
While this is the key ingredient of the novel, what shines through is the steely strength of these women who have suffered generations of racial abuse. The female characters in the novel all have their own unique strengths and weakness, but they all eventually pull through in the end, and become stronger women by sticking together and helping each other. It is this sorority, the faith they find in themselves, that brings them closer to happiness and the freedom they desire. The most important message would have to be that we often choose to make ourselves a slave. Walker’s characters, whether they be men or women, in the end  find a way to release the trapped self within them. They begin to love the person they are, and look forward to the person they want to be.
Walker shows us that staying shackled to the past, is the sickest form of slavery. After all, in a situation like the one she portrays, who is the master and who is the slave? Who holds the whip, and who bears the lashes?
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