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.
Purple Quotes in The Color Purple
The The Color Purple quotes below all refer to the symbol of Purple. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Pocket Books edition of The Color Purple published in 1985.).
Letter 12 Quotes
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.