Alice Walker's beautiful epistolary novel is a collection of letter, most of which are written by the protagonist, Celie, first to God, and later to her sister, Nettie. The setting is the Deep South, rural Georgia, covering a time span from approximately 1914 to 1942. Walker's use of "black English" for most of the letters adds authenticity to her characters and a lyrical flow to the passages. The reader is treated to a "folk voice" seldom heard in American literature - the voice of the poor, uneducated, rural, southern black community. The main theme of the work is the redemptive power of love.
By giving her the power of speech Walker allows the reader to see Celie - not as an object to be defined, used, directed - but as the subject who, through her letter-writing, begins to define herself, to see, understand, question herself, and to finally become herself.
In the letters between Celie and Nettie Walker offers a parallel to the events that have occurred on Celie's family and the plight of the Olinka tribe in Africa, and some may even see it as a parallel to the black experience in America.
This is a wonderful, uplifting read - Walker at her best!
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