The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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Purple Symbol Analysis

Purple Symbol Icon
The novel, of course, is called The Color Purple, and though the color itself does not appear in many places throughout the text, it is clear that purple is associated with Celie, and with Celie's transformation from a young girl to a mature woman. As Alice Walker writes in a preface to the novel, purple "is always a surprise but is found everywhere in nature." From the beginning, Celie shows that purple is her favorite color—she asks Kate, Mr.'s sister, to buy her clothing and shoes in purple, but they end up being too expensive. When Celie returns to Georgia, after having lived with Shug in a romantic relationship, and having started her own pant-making business, Mr. carves for Celie a purple frog, symbolizing a comment Celie made to Mr. long after her relationship with Shug, saying that men have always reminded her of frogs. Just as Celie always possessed the inner strength necessary to allow her strike out on her own and to break free of Mr.'s and Pa's influence, the color purple is found in nature, in flowers especially, yet it seems an impossible joy, something that ought not to be there—and an indicator of God's influence on earth.
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Purple Symbol Timeline in The Color Purple

The timeline below shows where the symbol Purple appears in The Color Purple. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter 12
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...wore in Pa's. Kate takes Celie to buy shoes and a dress. Celie initially wants purple shoes, but their too expensive and so she settles for blue. Celie has never before... (full context)
Letter 89
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon college. Celie shows Shug her room in the new house, Celie's house, now painted purple and red, and displays a purple frog that Albert has carved for her. This frog... (full context)