At the beginning of this year, in one of my book experiences did I raise how fraud is the statement that women are supposedly the biggest enemy of other women. This statement is just another deliverable of the patriarchal society we live in. This thought has been so deeply engraved in our lives, that recently I read it being paraphrased in a “comical” form by a woman civil servant on Twitter as well. I cringe at such thoughts. All my life I have been supported and held strong by women in the form of my mother, sisters, aunts, and friends. Irrespective of these statements, if a person still is hesitant in believing this then they should definitely read The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
This book is set in the times when racism against black people was at its peak. In this world of whites being superior to blacks, the position of black women was on the lowermost pedestal. These women were repeatedly abused, mentally, emotionally, and sexually. Amongst many such women was Celie. A woman who was sexually abused by her own father, twice. A woman who was considered timid, dumb, and ugly by everyone she met. Everyone but her sister Nettie and later her girlfriends such as Shug, and Sophia. Celie is wed to Albert, a person who marries her only so that she can take care of his children. Celie is separated from her sister Nettie, the one person whom she loves the most. She now has only Albert, who also pays no heed to her presence other than use her as a servant. In this dark life of Celie then come other women, who with their courageous soul, and words shun away the darkness from Celie’s life.
The book is written in first person in the words of Celie herself which she addresses to God. Her writing is typical to the langugae of black people we often hear in movies, owing to not having been educated well. The writing also reminded me of the trend people had started a few years back of writing “mah” instead of “my”. They felt it to be new-age lingo. But it is so funny to see that it was rather an age-old lingo used by people who unfortunately had no opportunity then to be taught the right words and the right spellings. The importance of reading hence gets more pronounced through these simple stances as well.
The support women offer to other women, in the form of encouragement, empathy, and compassion is the essence of this book. Written in 1982, the book is still so relevant, poignant, and important. After reading it, I am immensely grateful to all the women in my life. Your support and smiles have made journeys less tumultuous and much more fun.