Alice Walker's mother - “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Alice Walker's mother - “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

Analyzing Celie's mother's character in Alice Walker's "The Color Purple"

Although Celie's mother is a minor character in Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Color Purple," she has a significant impact on the protagonist's life and the themes of the story. Her terrible tale, which is cloaked in secrecy and mental suffering, sheds light on the very painful effects of trauma, gender discrimination, and societal oppression.

Context and Trauma: A Broken Life

Throughout the book, Celie's mother—who remains anonymous—becomes apparent as a traumatized lady whose life has been irreparably destroyed. Her husband was brutally lynched—a senseless act of racial violence—and she is left emotionally crippled and unable to deal with the loss. Her deep sadness, combined with the prejudice and misogyny that are rampant in her neighborhood, prevents her from being able to provide her children, Celie and Nettie, the loving care they need.

Quiet Pain and Unrealized Potential

The anguish Celie's mother experienced is evident in the heavy quiet that surrounds her. She withdraws into a catatonic depressive state, unable to communicate or interact with others. This stillness is more than just her not speaking; it's a metaphor for her voice being silenced, her potential being unrealized, and the intense sorrow that imprisons her.

Effect on Nettie and Celie: A Painful Legacy

The incapacity of Celie's mother to manage her trauma has a significant effect on her daughters. The oldest, Celie, is left to take care of her younger sister Nettie and herself. Celie's self-perception is shaped by their mother's lack of emotional support and parental direction, which adds to her sense of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Archetypes and Symbolism: A Voice for the Silent

Even though she isn't around much, Celie's mother is a potent representation of the oppressed and silenced women in society. Her silent sorrow is a symbol of the innumerable women who have experienced trauma and oppression but whose tales remain unheard. Her persona also perfectly captures the cliché of the bereaved mother, who is frequently portrayed as a representation of sorrow, resiliency, and the enduring force of love.

Literary Tricks and the Significance of Story

The relevance of Celie's mother's character is further highlighted by Walker's deft use of literary tropes. The impact of trauma and the marginalization of voices is emphasized through the use of silence as a narrative device. Celie's mother's silence is contrasted with other characters' lively voices, including Shug Avery and Nettie, highlighting the significance of giving voice to the voiceless and the power of storytelling.

Critical Views and Explanations

The character of Celie's mother is frequently interpreted critically with an emphasis on her representation of the crippling effects of trauma and the silence of women's voices. Her representation of the difficulties of parenthood and the obstacles faced by women in repressive regimes is emphasized by certain critics. Some see her as a symbol of the human spirit's tenacity in the face of extreme grief and sorrow.

In conclusion, a quiet voice that makes a big impression

Despite being mute and appearing to be passive, Celie's mother is an important character in Alice Walker's "The Color Purple." Her tragic and traumatizing narrative is a potent reminder of the serious consequences of gender inequity, societal injustice, and the silence of marginalized voices. Her ability to convey ideas clearly through her silence, emphasizing the value of giving voice to the voiceless and the resiliency of the human spirit, is what will leave an enduring legacy to her character.