The Color Purple
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Celie, Nettie; first person
The narrative is told in the first-person form of letters. The first half of the book is told completely from Celie’s point of view; she addresses God in a sort of diary form to let God know what’s gone on in her life and the lives of those around her. The second part of the book is told in letters between Nettie and Celie.
Celie’s point of view is particularly interested. Unlike Nettie, Celie is an uneducated woman, having been forced to drop out of school around the age of fourteen when she became pregnant by her Pa. Her lack of education is apparent from her poor spelling and grammar. Nettie, however, is educated. Her spelling and grammar are correct, and her letters discuss more complex topics, such as women’s rights, civil rights, religion, politics, and more. However, it isn’t only Nettie that has an interesting story to tell. Despite Celie’s poor educational background, Celie tells a powerful story. In this sense, Walker’s chosen narrator shows that all people, including poor, uneducated, victimized black women have an important story to tell.