Cover image for The color purple
Title:
The color purple
ISBN:
9780156028356
Edition:
1st Harvest ed.
Publication Information:
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, 2003.
Physical Description:
288 p. ; 21 cm.
Reading Level:
HL 670 L Lexile
Geographic Term:
Summary:
Celie has grown up in 1930s rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she's badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.
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Summary

Summary

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize * Winner of the National Book Award

Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters--one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South--who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.

"Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer." -- New York Times Book Review

"Places Walker in the company of Faulkner." -- The Nation

"Superb . . . A work to stand beside literature of any time and place." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"A novel of permanent importance." -- Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek


Author Notes

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple. Her other bestselling novels include By the Light of My Father's Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and The Temple of My Familiar. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, three collections of essays, five volumes of poetry, and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Born in Eaton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California. Like so many characters in her fiction, Alice Walker was born into a family of sharecroppers in Eaton, Georgia. She began Spelman College on a scholarship and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1965. While still in college, Walker became active in the civil rights movement and continued her involvement after she graduated, serving as a voter registration worker in Georgia. She also worked in a Head Start program in Mississippi and was on the staff of the New York City welfare department. She has lectured and taught at several colleges and universities and currently operates a publishing house, Wild Trees Press, of which she is a co-founder.

Walker began her literary career as a poet, publishing Once: Poems in 1968. The collection reflects her experiences in the civil rights movement and her travels in Africa. Her second collection of poetry, Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973), is a celebration of the struggle against oppression and racism. In between these two collections, she published her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), the story of Ruth Copeland, a young black girl, and her grandfather, Grange, who brutalizes his own family out of the frustrations of racial prejudice and his own sense of inadequacy.

Walker's first collection of short stories, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women (1973), established her special concern for the struggles, hardships, loyalties, and triumphs of black women, a powerful force in the rest of her fiction. Meridian (1976), her second novel, is the story of Meridian Hill, a civil rights worker. In her second collection of short stories, You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down (1981), Walker again portrays black women struggling against sexual, racial, and economic oppression.

Walker's third novel, The Color Purple (1982), brought her the national recognition denied her earlier works. Through this story of the sharecropper Celie and the abuses she endures, Walker draws together the themes that have run through her earlier work into a concentrated and powerful attack on racism and sexism, and produces a triumphant celebration of the spirit and endurance of black women. The book received the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a successful film.

Walker describes her most recent novel, The Temple of My Familiar (1989) as "a romance of the last 500,000 years." The book is a blend of myth and history revolving around three marriages. As the married couples tell their stories, they explore both their origins and the inner life of modern African Americans.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

An eloquent portrait of black women's lives that are sustained by faith, love, and trust in the face of brutality, poverty, and racism.


New York Review of Books Review

MANY AMERICANS MIGHT not know the more polemical side of race writing in our history. The canon of African-American literature is well established. Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin are familiar figures. Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). It is tempting to think that the influence of those dusty polemics ebbed as the dust accumulated. But their legacy persists, freshly shaping much of our racial discourse. On the occasion of Black History Month, I've selected the most influential books on race and the black experience published in the United States for each decade of the nation's existence - a history of race through ideas, arranged chronologically on the shelf. (In many cases, I've added a complementary work, noted with an asterisk.) Each of these books was either published first in the United States or widely read by Americans. They inspired - and sometimes ended - the fiercest debates of their times: debates over slavery, segregation, mass incarceration. They offered racist explanations for inequities, and antiracist correctives. Some - the poems of Phillis Wheatley, the memoir of Frederick Douglass - stand literature's test of time. Others have been roundly debunked by science, by data, by human experience. No list can ever be comprehensive, and "most influential" by no means signifies "best." But I would argue that together, these works tell the history of anti-black racism in the United States as painfully, as eloquently, as disturbingly as words can. In many ways, they also tell its present. 1771-1780 POEMS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS, RELIGIOUS AND MORAL, by Phillis Wheatley (1773) No book during the Revolutionary era stirred more debates over slavery than this first-ever book by an African-American woman. Assimilationists and abolitionists exhibited Wheatley and her poetry as proof that an "uncultivated barbarian from Africa" could be civilized, that enslaved Africans "may be refin'd, and join th' angelic train" of European civilization and human freedom. Phillis Wheatley Enslavers disagreed, and lashed out at Wheatley's "Poems." * "An Address to the Inhabitants of British Settlements, on the Slavery of the Negroes in America," by Benjamin Rush (1773) 1781-1790 NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, by Thomas Jefferson (1785) The author of American freedom in 1776 wrote of American slavery as a necessary evil in this book, widely regarded as the most important political portrait of the nascent United States. Jefferson indicted the "tyranny" Ibram x. kendi, a professor of history at the University of Florida, won the National Book Award for "Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America." of slavery while also supplying fellow slaveholders with a batch of prejudices to justify slavery's rapid expansion. Blacks "are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind," he wrote. And Wheatley is not "a poet." *"The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Or, Gustavus Vassa, the African" (1789) 1791-1800 PENNSYLVANIA, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, AND VIRGINIA ALMANAC AND EPHEMERS, by Benjamin Banneker (1792-97) After helping to survey the District of Columbia, Banneker compiled his first almanac, replacing Wheatley's "Poems" as abolitionists' finest showpiece of black capability. He enclosed the almanac in a letter to Jefferson, writing, "I apprehend you will embrace every opportunity, to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions." Jefferson did not jump off the train, but other Americans did while reading this remarkable book. Thomas Jefferson 1801-1810 AN ESSAY ON THE CAUSES OF VARIETY OF COMPLEXION AND FIGURE IN THE HUMAN SPECIES, by Samuel Stanhope Smith (second edition, 1810) The Princeton president tried to stop the polygenesis theory that the races are created unequal, stoutly defending biblical monogenesis and the notion that first humans were white. He called for physical assimilation: In a colder climate blackened skins would revert to their original white beauty; "the woolly substance" on black heads would become "fine, straight hair" again. His racist idea of the lighter and straighter the better still demeans after all these years. 1811-1820 THOUGHTS ON THE COLONIZATION OF FREE BLACKS, by Robert Finley (1816) Blacks should be freed, trained "for self-government" and returned to Africa, according to the antislavery clergyman and former student of Samuel Stanhope Smith. Finley wrote the manifesto for colonization, a cause supported by several American leaders until Lincoln's failed schemes doomed the movement during the Civil War. *"An Appeal From the Judgments of Great Britain Respecting the United States of America," by Robert Walsh (1819) 1821-1830 AN APPEAL TO THE COLORED CITIZENS OF THE WORLD, by David Walker (1829) This Boston abolitionist viciously assailed colonization and "Mr. Jefferson's arguments" in the first booklength attack on the "inhuman system of slavery" by an African-American. Black seamen smuggled the appeal into chained Southern hands; community readers sounded the appeal to violently throw off the violent yoke. Walker's ultimatum for slaveholders: Give us freedom and rights, or you will "curse the day that you ever were born! " 1831-1840 CRANIA AMERICANA, by Samuel Morton (1839) This book revived the theory of polygenesis that dominated intellectual racial discourse until the Civil War. What reviewers hailed as an "immense body of facts" were Morton's measurements of the "mean internal capacity" of the human skulls in his renowned collection in Philadelphia, from which he concluded that whites had the "highest intellectual endowments." * "Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature of 1831 and 1832," by Thomas Roderick Dew (1832), and "Thoughts on African Colonization," by William Lloyd Garrison (1832) 1841-1850 THE NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1845) The gripping best seller earned Douglass international prestige and forced readers around the world to come to terms with slavery's brutality and blacks' freedom dreams. No other piece of antislavery literature so devastated Morton's defense of polygenesis, or John C. Calhoun's recently popularized theory that slavery was a "positive good." *"The Narrative of Sojourner Truth" (1850) 1851-1860 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852) Inflamed by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Stowe offered a fugitive slave story that made millions sympathize with slaves. Her novel - and its dramatic adaptations - turned the "hard and dominant Anglo-Saxon race" toward Christian salvation with a simple lesson: to stop enslaving quintessential Christians in all their "lowly docility of heart." From accommodating Uncle Toms to superior mulattoes to soulful Africans, the book also popularized any number of lasting racist tropes. *"On the Origin of Species," by Charles Darwin (1859) 1861-1870 THE PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY, by Herbert Spencer (1864) In "Principles," Spencer coined the term "survival of the fittest," becoming the ultimate amplifier of Social Darwinism in the United States. Americans fell in love with his comprehensive theory of evolution, claiming that Reconstruction policies would allow inferior blacks to evolve (or assimilate) into white civilization or lose the struggle for existence. The net effect of Spencer's Social Darwinism: the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. * "Hereditary Genius," by Sir Francis Gabon (1869) 1871-1880 THE PROSTRATE STATE: South Carolina Under Negro Government, by James Pike (1874) This prominent New York journalist blanketed the nation with fairy tales of corrupt, incompetent, lazy Black Republican politicians. Reconstruction's enfranchising policies were a "tragedy," Pike wrote, nothing but "the slave rioting in the halls of his master." His "objective" reporting caused many once sympathetic Northerners to demand a national reunion based on white rule. *"The Descent of Man," by Charles Darwin (1871) 1881-1890 OUR BROTHER IN BLACK: His Freedom and His Future, by Atticus Haygood (1881) In the 1880s, Southern segregationists marketed their region as the New South, among them this Methodist bishop and Emory College president. In his popular book, Haygood eased consciences that the end of Reconstruction meant the end of black rights. The New South will be as good for black folk as the old, Haygood declared, as new white Southerners would continue to civilize inferior black folk in their nicely segregated free-labor society. *"The Plantation Negro as a Freeman," by Philip Alexander Bruce (1889) 1891-1900 RACE TRAITS AND TENDENCIES OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO, by Frederick Hoffman (1896) Better covered than the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that year, "Race Traits" catapulted this statistician into scientific celebrity. At the time of emancipation, blacks were "healthy in body and cheerful in mind," Hoffman wrote. Thirty years later, the 1890 census forecasts their "gradual extinction," due to natural immoralities and a propensity for diseases. He blazed the trail of racist ideas in American criminology when he concluded that higher black arrest rates indicated blacks committed more crimes. * "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases," by Ida B. Wells (1892) 1901-1910 THE CLANSMAN: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan, by Thomas Dixon (1905) Convinced that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had misrepresented the South, Dixon emerged as Jim Crow's novelist laureate. "The Clansman" was the most influential of his works, particularly after it was adapted into a popular play and D. W. Griffith's 1915 film "The Birth of a Nation." In Dixon's telling, the virtuous Ku Klux Klan saved Southern whites from their "awful suffering" during Reconstruction. * "The Souls of Black Folk," by W. E. B. Du Bois (1903) 1911-1920 TARZAN OF THE APES, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912) With his racist colonial plot, Burroughs glued animals, savages and Africa together in the American mind, and redeemed white masculinity after the first black heavyweight champion knocked it out in 1908. Forget boxing and Jack Johnson - white men embraced Tarzan, the inspiration for comic strips, 25 sequels and dozens of motion pictures. *"The Passing of the Great Race," by Madison Grant (1916) 1921-1930 NIGGER HEAVEN, by Carl Van Vechten (1926) Van Vechten was the Harlem Renaissance's ubiquitous white patron, a man as curiously passionate about showing off black people as zookeepers are about showing off their rare species. Through this best-selling novel, he gave white Americans a racist tour of the safari of Harlem, casting assimilated blacks in the guise of tropical exotic lands being spoiled by white developers. *"The Weary Blues," by Langston Hughes (1926) 1931-1940 GONE WITH THE WIND, by Margaret Mitchell (1936) The Pulitzer Prize-winning jewel of the plantation fiction genre, this was Americans' second all-time favorite book behind the Bible, according to a 2014 f Harris Poll. Mitchell portrays white enslavers as noble, slaves as shiftless, docile and loyal. Mitchell did for slavery what Dixon did for Reconstruction and Burroughs for Africa. * "Their Eyes Were Watching God," Zora Neale Hurston (1937) and "Native Son," by Richard Wright (1940) 1941-1950 AN AMERICAN DILEMMA: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, by Gunnar Myrdal (1944) As Americans fought against Nazism overseas, this Swedish economist served up an encyclopedic revelation of racial discrimination in their backyards. If there was a scholarly trigger for the civil rights movement, this was it. Myrdal concluded that "a great majority" of whites would "give the Negro a substantially better deal if they knew the facts." Segregationists seethed, and racial reformers were galvanized to show the truth of Jim Crow. *"Race: Science and Politics," by Ruth Benedict (revised edition, 1943) 1951-1960 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee (1960) This instant classic about a white lawyer defending a black man wrongly accused of rape was the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" of the civil rights movement. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy," a neighbor tells the lawyer's daughter, Scout. She's talking about their reclusive white neighbor, Boo Radley, but the African-Americans of 1930s Alabama come across as singing spectators, thankful for the moral heroism of Atticus Finch. The white savior remains the most popular racist character in American letters. * "Invisible Man," by Ralph Ellison (1952) 1961-1970 THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X, as told to Alex Haley (1965) It was the manifesto for the Black Power movement, where young black saviors arose, alienated by white saviors and the slow pace of civil rights change. Malcolm wrote black pride before James Brown sang it. His ideological transformation from assimilationist to anti-white separatist to antiracist inspired millions of all races. * "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou (1969) 1971-1980 ROOTS: The Saga of an American Family, by Alex Haley (1976) For African-Americans in the radiance of Black Power's turn to Pan-Africanism, the thrilling and terrifying story of Kunta Kinte and his descendants arrived right on time. The best seller inspired one of the most watched shows in American television history. "Roots" dispatched legions of racist ideas of backward Africa, of civilizing slavery, of the contented slave, of loose enslaved women. The plantation genre of happy mammies and Sambos was gone with the wind. * "The Declining Significance of Race," by William Julius Wilson (1978) 1981-1990 THE COLOR PURPLE, by Alice Walker (1982) Of the black feminist classics of the period, Walker's garnered the most prestige - a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize - and controversy. Set in 1930s rural Georgia, the story shows a black woman finding happiness beyond abusive black patriarchs, Southern poverty and racist whites. Steven Spielberg's 1985 blockbuster adaptation cemented its legacy. * "Beloved," by Toni Morrison (1987) 1991-2000 THE BELL CURVE: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray (1994) Herrnstein and Murray offered validation for Americans raging about pathological blacks and crime, welfare and affirmative action. "Inequality of endowments, including intelligence, is a reality," they wrote, sparking one of the most intense academic wars in history over whether genes or environment had caused the racial "achievement gap" in standardized test scores. * "America in Black and White," by Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom (1997) 2001-2010 THE NEW JIM CROW: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander (2010) Two years after Obama's election, Alexander put the entire criminal justice system on trial, exposing racial discrimination from lawmaking to policing to the denial of voting rights to exprisoners. This best seller struck the spark that would eventually Michelle Alexander light the fire of Black Lives Matter. * "Dreams From My Father," by Barack Obama (2004 reprint) ?


Guardian Review

The Color Purple, book, movie, musical, has been successful beyond anything I could have imagined when I was writing it. My ambition was to spend as much time as I could with the grandparents and parents whose lives inspired it, and to do it as well as they might wish it to be done. I had no idea how much I would enjoy the company of these relatives, and especially the thought of the lives they lived half a century before I was born. Art comes, like everything else, out of nothing, out of silence, out of, I suppose, longing. Imagine: I was eight years old, blinded in one eye by a brother who was frightening even without a pellet gun, ridiculed constantly at school by children who knew no better and to whom my appearance was now odd, in a building that had once been the state penitentiary, and on whose floor, at the very centre of the school, was the circular imprint of the recently removed electric chair. (This is what "segregation" and "separate but equal schools" looked like.) The eye doctor my family took me to, and to whom they delivered 250 borrowed dollars, took the money and gave us, in return, a single bottle of eye drops called Argyroyle (at least that is what it sounded like). I would not receive medical treatment for six years. To add to this, we had recently moved to a community in a different county from where we were from. Nobody knew us. My best friends were the enormous pecan trees that lived near the barn, and the flourishing plantings of jonquils my mother instantly installed. (She took her bulbs and "cuttings" of plants everywhere we moved.) This was the darkest period of my childhood. But this experience, as a child, of seemingly bottomless descent, is one of the reasons we have grandparents. So off we went to my grandparents' home, a three-room dwelling with golden kerosene lamps that my grandmother lit each evening before making the fire, and where my grandfather, in summer, carefully stashed deep green watermelons underneath the bed. This was the country way of keeping melons cool, but to me it seemed magical and something thought of just for me. Miss Yarborough, a schoolteacher who gave me piano lessons (five of them before our money ran out) rented one of the rooms, and so I slept with my grandparents. Slept between them, in fact, and the first few nights I was aware of how much effort they put in to not squashing me. They were old and seemed just fine about it. Soon sleeping between them felt cosy and safe, and ever since that time I've liked the smell of liniment. They did not baby me or pity me: they simply accepted me. I went along when my grandmother, Rachel, fed the chickens and collected their eggs. And I went along with my grandfather, Henry, when he plowed the long rows in the garden in spring so we would have ample summer crops. I went with my grandmother to church, but only occasionally, since I preferred staying home with "Papa", whose quiet Sundays might include a walk, puffing on his pipe. A walk through woods so silent and dense that our narrow path shone beneath the dappled foliage like a silver snake. What could I possibly do to repay this love? Especially since at the time it didn't seem nearly as extraordinary as it became, the older I grew and the more I pondered it. On top of which was the legend of my grandfather's youth of repeated misadventures - and, because of his alcoholism, my grandmother's history of abuse. I felt, even before I knew how to write, that they deserved the biggest hug I could deliver via the printed word - though they died long before I did deliver it, in the shape of The Color Purple. And now this story of passion, of growth, of turmoil and confusion, of triumph over so many calamities - of my grandparents' undemonstrative but trustworthy caring - is a musical. I send a hug to those involved in the production: director, the producers, all the actors and musicians, costume designers, and set creators: you are carrying something precious that will give to you even more than you give to it. That has been the experience of everyone who has held this story, which seems to offer everyone something. The Color Purple: The Musical is at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 15 July until 14 September. Details at: menierchocolatefactory.com - Alice Walker Caption: Captions: The Color Purple: The Musical Imagine: I was eight years old, blinded in one eye by a brother who was frightening even without a pellet gun, ridiculed constantly at school by children who knew no better and to whom my appearance was now odd, in a building that had once been the state penitentiary, and on whose floor, at the very centre of the school, was the circular imprint of the recently removed electric chair. (This is what "segregation" and "separate but equal schools" looked like.) The eye doctor my family took me to, and to whom they delivered 250 borrowed dollars, took the money and gave us, in return, a single bottle of eye drops called Argyroyle (at least that is what it sounded like). I would not receive medical treatment for six years. - Alice Walker.


Kirkus Review

Walker (In Love and Trouble, Meridian) has set herself the task of an epistolary novel--and she scores strongly with it. The time is in the Thirties; a young, black, Southern woman named Celie is the primary correspondent (God being her usual addressee); and the life described in her letters is one of almost impossible grimness. While young, Celie is raped by a stepfather. (Even worse, she believes him to be her real father.) She's made to bear two children that are then taken away from her. She's married off without her consent to an older man, Albert, who'd rather have Celie's sister Nettle--and, by sacrificing her body to Albert without love or feeling, Celie saves her sister, making it possible for her to escape: soon Nettle goes to Africa to work as a Christian missionary. Eventually, then, halfway through the book, as Celie's sub-literate dialect letters to God continue to mount (eventually achieving the naturalness and intensity of music, equal in beauty to Eudora Welty's early dialect stories), letters from Nettle in Africa begin to arrive. But Celie doesn't see them--because Albert holds them back from her. And it's only when Celie finds an unlikely redeemer--Albert's blues-singer lover Shug Avery--that her isolation ends: Shug takes Celie under her wing, becomes Celie's lover as well as Albert's; Shug's strength and expansiveness and wisdom finally free up Nettie's letters--thus granting poor Celie a tangible life in the now (Shug's love, encouragement) as well as a family life, a past (Nettie's letters). Walker fashions this book beautifully--with each of Celie's letters slowly adding to her independence (the implicit feminism won't surprise Walker's readers), with each letter deepening the rich, almost folk-tale-ish sense of story here. And, like an inverted pyramid, the novel thus builds itself up broadeningly while balanced on the frailest imaginable single point: the indestructibility--and battered-ness--of love. A lovely, painful book: Walker's finest work yet. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy.Dear God,I am fourteen years old. I am I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.Last spring after little Lucious come I heard them fussing. He was pulling on her arm. She say It too soon, Fonso, I ain't well. Finally he leave her alone. A week go by, he pulling on her arm again. She say Naw, I ain't gonna. Can't you see I'm already half dead, an all of these chilren.She went to visit her sister doctor over Macon. Left me to see after the others. He never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn't. First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it.But I don't never git used to it. And now I feels sick every time I be the one to cook. My mama she fuss at me an look at me. She happy, cause he good to her now. But too sick to last long.Dear God,Mr. ______ finally come right out an ast for Nettie hand in marriage. But He won't let her go. He say she too young, no experience. Say Mr. ______ got too many children already. Plus What about the scandal his wife cause when somebody kill her? And what about all this stuff he hear bout Shug Avery? What bout that?I ast our new mammy bout Shug Avery. What it is? I ast. She don't know but she say she gon fine out.She do more then that. She git a picture. The first one of a real person I ever seen. She say Mr. ______ was taking somethin out his billfold to show Pa an it fell out an slid under the table. Shug Avery was a woman. The most beautiful woman I ever saw. She more pretty then my mama. She bout ten thousand times more prettier then me. I see her there in furs. Her face rouge. Her hair like somethin tail. She grinning with her foot up on somebody motocar. Her eyes serious tho. Sad some.I ast her to give me the picture. An all night long I stare at it. An now when I dream, I dream of Shug Avery. She be dress to kill, whirling and laughing.Dear God,I ast him to take me instead of Nettie while our new mammy sick. But he just ast me what I'm talking bout. I tell him I can fix myself up for him. I duck into my room and come out wearing horsehair, feathers, and a pair of our new mammy high heel shoes. He beat me for dressing trampy but he do it to me anyway.Mr. ______ come that evening. I'm in the bed crying. Nettie she finally see the light of day, clear. Our new mammy she see it too. She in her room crying. Nettie tend to first one, then the other. She so scared she go out doors and vomit. But not out front where the two mens is.Mr. ______ say, Well Sir, I sure hope you done change your mind.He say, Naw, Can't say I is.Mr. ______ say, Well, you know, my poor little ones sure could use a mother.Well, He say, real slow, I can't let you have Nett Excerpted from The Color Purple by Alice Walker All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.