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The Color Purple

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Serious, Honest

This is not a funny novel. In fact, though there may be one or two funny moments in the novel, we can’t remember them right now. This is a novel about utter hardship, sadness, tragedy – and a woman who finally figures out how to beat the odds no matter how badly they are stacked against her. Celie, the primary narrator, takes a serious look at her life through letters to God. She’s not joking around, she’s expressing the sadness of her life in the healthiest way she can. Her letters to God, and later to Nettie, are very honest. She doesn’t hide the hardship that she’s been through, her embarrassment, or shame. Essentially, the novel is intended to be like the unedited thoughts that go through a person’s mind.

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