Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quotes on The Color Purple

Hi, these are the quotes on The Color Purple I keep referring to, but have not gotten around to printing out for you. I've decided that blogging them is better than printing them. The quotes all come from Alice Walker, edited by Harold Bloom, published by Chelsea House (2000).


Harold Bloom said, “The Color Purple gave rather more to storytelling & less to ideology, but it also now seems a period-piece, furniture of the spirit. Poor Celie is everyone’s victim, always being raped, beaten, or otherwise brutalized. Though Gloria Steinem found this ‘irresistible to read,’ less ideological readers may disagree. Alice Walker has intense pride & an authentic sense of social injustice. Whether these are, in themselves, aesthetic values remains open to considerable question.” (9)

Gloria Steinem said, “In the hands of this author, morality is not an external dictate. It doesn’t matter if you love the wrong people, or have children with more than one of them... What matters is cruelty, violence... It’s the internal morality of dignity, autonomy, & balance.” (Bloom 51)

Peter Prescott said, “her story begins at about the point that most Greek tragedies reserve for the climax, then becomes by immeasurably small steps a comedy which works its way toward acceptance, serenity & joy.” (Bloom 52)
“Love redeems, meanness kills - that is The Color Purple’s principal theme, the theme of most of the world’s great fiction... For Walker, redemptive love requires female bonding. The bond liberates women from men, who are predators at worst, idle at best” (Bloom 53).
“In the traditional manner, Walker ends her comedy with a dance, or more precisely with a barbeque”. (ibid)

Mel Watkins said that it is “a novel that is convincing because of the authenticity of its folk voice” (Bloom 54).

Robert Towers said, “The revelations involving the fate of Celie’s lost babies & the identity of her real father seem crudely contrived - the stuff of melodrama or fairy tales” (Bloom 56).
“The failure to find an interesting idiom for a major figure like Nettie is especially damaging in an epistolary novel...” (ibid)
“I find it impossible to imagine Celie apart from her language...” (ibid).

Dinitia Smith said, “The Color Purple is about the struggle between redemption & revenge. And the chief agency of redemption... is the strength of the relationships between women” (Bloom 57).
“The men in this book change only when their women join together & rebel - & then, the change is so complete as to be unrealistic” (Bloom 58).
“Walker’s didacticism is especially evident in Nettie’s letters from Africa, which make up a large portion of the book” (ibid). “occasional preachiness”.

Trudier Harris said, “From the beginning of the novel, even as Walker presents Celie’s sexual abuse by her stepfather, there is an element of fantasy in the book. Celie becomes the ugly duckling who will eventually be redeemed through suffering” (Bloom 61).
“Celie’s predicament might be real, but she is forced to deal with it in terms that are antithetical to the reality of her condition” (ibid).
“The fabulist/fairy-tale mold of the novel is ultimately incongruous with & does not serve well to frame its message... [The Color Purple] affirms... patience & long-suffering... it affirms passivity; heroines in those tales do little to help themselves. It affirms silence in the face of, if not actual allegiance to, cruelty. It affirms secrecy concerning violence & violation. It affirms, saddest of all, the myth of the American Dream becoming a reality for black Americans, even those who are ‘dirt poor’...” (ibid).
“I will continue to react to all praise of the novel by asserting that mere praise ignores the responsibility that goes along with it - we must clarify as much as we can the reasons that things are being praised & enumerate as best as we can the consequences of that praise” (Bloom 62).

Have any comments about these quotes? Let us know. I think the last quote (in blue) is especially interesting!

Monday, July 23, 2007

bell hooks on The Color Purple

Any further comments on her article now that you've gone home to digest it? Any thoughts she's led you on to, or any dissenting opinion?