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Themes

Early on, the protagonist begins to explain that she doesn’t look at men – they scare her. Instead, she looks at women. Women are the only people who have ever been kind to her. Her sexual identity becomes that of a woman who loves a woman. In this novel, sexuality isn’t about loving one gender or the other, it’s about loving individual people. In the protagonist’s case, she loves a woman.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. Does Celie actually identify as a lesbian, or is she just somebody who happens to love Shug?
  2. Do Shug and Sofia have more stereotypically male or female qualities?
  3. Does Celie begin to act in a traditionally masculine or feminine way after she leaves Mr.__? Are the pants a symbol of her sexual identity or not?
  4. Is Celie a person at all before she falls in love with Shug?

Chew on This

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

The Color Purple indicates that love has nothing to do with a person’s sexual identity. Love happens where it happens and nobody can predict it or stop it.

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