Alice Walker celebrated a birthday on February 9! Here’s my letter wishing her a very happy birthday.
Happy Birthday! Your writings have had a very powerful effect on my life. In fact, when I was pursuing a master’s degree in English — Literary Studies, I decided to write my thesis paper about The Color Purple. this novel seemed perfectly in sync with my new found love and understanding of God, myself, and my own personal power. However, getting a master’s degree was not in syc, so I did not complete the degree.
Amazingly, my professors did not see what I saw.
One day when I came home from yoga class, I glanced at my book shelf full of wonderful and fascinating books. My eyes went straight to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I pulled out the book and looked at it. OMG! This book is about the chakra system. I asked myself repeatedly “Why the color purple? Why the color purple?” Why not yellow, red, or especially green for a book seemingly about a move from Christianity to pantheism. Why purple? It dawned on me that purple was the highest spiritual state of awareness. The precise state Celie reaches by the end of the novel. This is amazing. But even more amazing is that you hid these themes in a novel about a southern black girl.
It reaffirmed for me that anyone, no matter who they are or what they’ve been through, can become their highest self with the right tools, awareness, and mindset. They can transform their life. Go from a victim to an empowered person.
Thank you Alice Walker for your beautiful novels, especially The Color Purple and Now is the Time to Open Your Heart. I will forever cherish them.
In honor of your special day, I wanted to share the prospectus for my thesis statement with you. Although the thesis was never completed. Writing this prospectus opened me up to my real purpose in life. Instead of sitting in a classroom critiquing your work, I needed to create my own. I had been hiding in academia for too long. Afraid of my own voice. But it was time now to embody my creative power that was begging to be released. So here I am.
Reconstructing Spiritual Identity in The Color Purple
Throughout history, humans have contemplated the existence of a higher force or power. The natural world follows a rhythm outside of human influence, and ancient as well as modern civilizations have used art, philosophy, and science to explore the origin of this rhythm. Humans cannot objectively and definitively identify the origin of living organisms, and thus diverse cultures throughout the world have used a variety of religious and/or spiritual practices to define and relate to this unknown source of life.
My thesis project focuses on religion and how it affects on one’s perception of power in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I will examine the relationship between one’s religious practices and one’s experience with power and life within the novel. I will further analyze the effect of two opposing religious beliefs on the female characters in the novel, specifically Celie.
In the beginning of The Color Purple, Celie addresses her letters “Dear God” and shows reverence by following orthodox Christian religious teachings. However, her devotion to God and religion is not mirrored positively in her life. She undergoes physical, sexual, and verbal abuse from various characters throughout the beginning of the novel. The reverence she shows to God through devoted prayer does not directly impact her ability to live a fulfilling life. Celie embodies the limitations of orthodox religion, which are similar to other forms of oppression. Celie’s devotion to God parallels her fear of self expression, lack of control over her body and life, and lack of communal leadership.
Toward the end of the novel, Celie dismisses traditional concepts of the orthodox Christian God and this realization parallels a deeper consciousness in which she is more connected to herself, the community, and the natural world.
I am interested in Celie’s transformation and how Walker alludes to New Age concepts throughout the novel and even in the title. New Age is the name given to a collection of ideologies based on older unorthodox spiritual practices such as Ayurveda and Yoga, which is said to originate from Hinduism. In the Kundalini style of yoga, purple represents the highest state of conscious awareness. This state represents one’s deliverance from suffering and transformation into a higher state of existence. How does Walker position these philosophies in comparison to Christianity? Why does Walker allude to them at all? What conclusions are drawn about their differences?
I apologize this thesis was never completed. In the process of writing it, I realized, I wanted to answer the last questions with my own life. I didn’t want to sit in a library or classroom and write about the answers. I no longer wanted to live vicariously through the characters and authors I wrote about. My own fear kept me in school longer than I wanted to be. I love the feeling of reading a good book. Uncovering an intriguing plot. And discovering themes that make you question parts of your own consciousness and life.
I do not love the incessant critiquing that has become an art form in many English departments. I seek now to be the artist. Not the judge of artists. Not the critic who sits safely behind a desk in a big building analyzing the art of those who dare to bare their souls to us in an exercise of creativity.
This blog is my song. My answer. The expression of my color purple.
Powered by Facebook Comments