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The Color Purple

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

Marriage Theme

In this novel, hardly anybody fares well in marriage, even if they love each other. Married people rarely love each other and, even when they do, they use violence to try to control their spouse’s behavior. Romantic relationships also aren’t limited to marriage; this book is full of characters fluidly trading spouses and lovers. The one stable marriage exists between the protagonist’s sister and a Reverend, but this relationship isn’t necessarily better or happier than the protagonist’s relationship with her same-sex lover.

Questions About Marriage

  1. Does anybody have a happy marriage?
  2. Marriage, it is often said, is not about love. It’s about helping people grow, and about raising children. Is this statement true in The Color Purple? Why or why not?
  3. If you were to write a definition of marriage after reading this novel, what would it be?
  4. Why does Celie choose not to re-marry Mr.__/Albert when he proposes to her near the end of the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In The Color Purple, marriage is an institution that serves few purposes other than a method and a means for men to control women.

Though men and women take marriage seriously in The Color Purple, it does not imply monogamy.

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