Monday, 19 February 2018

8/52 The Color Purple

Happy New Week Everyone! I am warming my toes against the heater as I write this. It is cold winter day outside that is perfect for reading under the blankets. The eighth book I am reading to 52 books in 52 weeks challenge is Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I finished it last week but wanted to share my new quilt pattern on Friday and save the reading notes post for this week. So far this reading challenge has been motivating and inspiring. It has been fun to share books I have read and check what others have been reading. I have also had great discussions about what books to read next with other bookstagrammers. My to be read list grows almost every day so it seems I will have plenty to read for the rest of my life. The challenge has inspired me to read thought provoking and not so easy to read books. Somehow writing about these books has made it possible to read because I don't have to keep it all inside but I can share thoughts with you. Today's novel goes to this category of books that were before almost impossible to read for me. I go deep to these life stories, fiction or nonfiction, and usually difficult books affect to my moods. Now that I have been making notes I process those thoughts to a paper and I don't have to carry everything in my head. Sounds like I have reinvented a wheel, right? I have never enjoyed writing a diary but after long years of studying keeping a notebook to gather important information and develop ideas has become a natural way of processing both things I have read and issues that circle in my head. I wonder how many pages I will write notes this year.

8/52 Alice Walker: The Color Purple (1982). I read this book in Finnish Häivähdys purppuraa. Following might contain some spoilers! This Pulitzer Prize winner was a difficult read because it pictures violence in many forms. Main character Celie lives between the World War I and II in Georgia, in a society that has racism. She is also being abused in her family and has little to say to the course of her own life. From this starting point her whole life story with it's hardships and wonderful moments is told in a form of letters to God and her sister.

Celie and her sister Nettie are somehow connected their whole life even though they are separated when Celie has to marry a man who she is forced to. One of the most wonderful things in this novel is the way it shows how a person's mind keeps the same and recognizable their whole life. It was in the end that I actually fully understood that this novel had Celie's whole life story. Her voice in her letters keeps the same and when she writes to her sister it sounds like they have just separated even though they have been apart most of their life. Sure people change in some ways but after all our personality is quite the same even though our looks change during the years. Especially when Celie and her sister Netty have known each other from their childhood it keeps up the person one has been since the beginning. Celie has her coping mechanisms and own humor that stays the same.

The way Celie confronts people changes when she gets friends who empower her and tell her to care for herself. In the beginning it is hard to read how down her self esteem has been pressed. She has learned to forget herself and her needs. Both her father and husband are violent and have taught her that she is nothing. This has gone deep in her and to cope with the daily violence she tries to forget her own existence. It is when she gets friends with her stepson's wife Sofia that she is guided to keep her own side and demand respect. And when Celie meets powerful Shug, her husband's lover, she gets a person to her side who puts a stop to her husband's violent behavior. This gives Celie a space to develop her own identity. Shug is the one who shows the surrounding world and it's possibilities; how it is possible to value yourself, demand people to do things for you, have a career using your gifts and express your own personality without apology. When Shug and Celie become lovers Celie is first time in a relationship she has chosen and she has someone who encourages her to find her own talent.

The novel brought up a thought if we can actually choose the people who we live our lives with or is it that the important people of your lives are just given. Like we have to cope with the bunch of people thrown in to our lives. Sometimes we do it with great success sometimes with not so wonderful results. In the novel the relationships are not straight forward and according to some common fairytale. There are ex-spouses and spouses, ex-lovers and current lovers, children and step children, siblings and parents, friends and enemies and they all live together. Some of the people are good and some are bad. Roles change, the good ones have bad sides and bad ones are not thoroughly evil. When Celie lived with her husband Albert her life was full of violence and fear and they seemed to have nothing in common. In the end of the story they have both been modified, Celie has become more powerful and Albert has acknowledged his former role as an abuser and made an effort to change. What they have in common is the way they both love Shug. Situations change and turn the way we see people in front of us. The bad things in life are not to be cherished and explained as good ones. But in Celie's life story links that lead to good or bad happenings were not that easy to spot. Some catastrophes brought great things to her life in the end. 

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