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The Color Purple

The Color Purple


by Alice Walker

Analysis: What’s Up With the Epigraph?

Epigraphs are like little appetizers to the great entrée of a story. They illuminate important aspects of the story, and they get us headed in the right direction.

Show me how to do like you.
Show me how to do it.

—Stevie Wonder

Epigraphs can sometimes be hard to decipher; this is one of those times. This quote from Stevie Wonder’s song "Do Like You" may refer to the longing Celie felt to be somebody else, anybody but herself. Because she loved and admired Shug Avery so much, and because Shug Avery was almost everything Celie was not (bold, brassy, sexy, outrageous, pushy), it could reference Celie’s desire to be like Shug.

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