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Themes

The protagonist narrates the novel through a series of letters, the majority of which are addressed to God. Initially, the protagonist, Celie, sees God as an old white man. Being a black woman abused by men all her life, Celie eventually rebels against this image of God. Increasingly, she begins to see God as genderless and race-less, a more universal being who wants humans to enjoy all aspects of life – from nature, to sex, to the color purple.

Questions About Religion

  1. Are the characters in The Color Purple religious? Why or why not?
  2. Does religion help any of the characters work through their problems or bear their suffering?
  3. Are religion and faith the same thing to these characters?
  4. How do Celie, Nettie, and Samuel’s ideas about God and religion change over the course of the novel?

Chew on This

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

Though Nettie and Celie alike make peace with God and their faith, they ultimately have no use for organized religion.

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