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The Color Purple: Summary, Characters, & Facts

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The Color Purple focuses on the lifestyle of post-slave South where most of the freed slaves had already migrated to the North by 1915 and the ones that had stayed behind in the South were sharecroppers under their former masters. The South became more and more segregated which meant it was harder for African Americans to get better jobs, educations, or even just fair treatment. Although some African Americans were able to obtain better jobs and this led to lynching because most of the time White Southerners did not like the idea of an African American becoming more than what they believed was right for them. The book shows this by explaining that Celie and Nettie’s father was one of the African Americans who had become somewhat successful and so a White racist mob came and lynched him, ” Once upon a time, there was a well-to-do farmer who owned his own property he decided to open a store his store did so well that he talked two of his brothers into helping him. Then the white merchants began to get together and complain the man’s store was burned down, his smithy destroyed, and the man and his two brothers dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night and hanged”.

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African Americans during the time period who lived in the South were segregated from the White population because at the time most Southern Whites still had the same mindset that African Americans were below them and they should not have the same luxuries or experiences as them which led to groups such as the Klu-Klux-Klan reforming. The KKK would then go on to lynch and murder African Americans who had become successful or had done any White person wrong in some shape or form. The Color Purple is an important piece of American literature because it shows the worldview of someone during the early twentieth century where slavery had been really been made illegal a few decades prior. People who read the book are able to experience a whole nother way of looking at the world because of the perspective the book gives to the reader through the way it was written. The book is written in the way of letters that are addressed to God or Celie from Celie’s sister Nettie. The letters help the person who reads the book have a more personal feel to reading because the letters are written as a personal connection to Celie’s life almost like it were a diary.

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