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Color Purple: Movie Vs. Novel Essay, Research Paper

The Color Purple: Movie vs. Novel

There poses a problem for the filmmaker that he or she is dealing not only with a mass audience but also in a form which does not allow reflection as the story progresses. Something else that a filmmaker has to keep in mind is that most people do not like having their own imagination criticized. At all times a filmmaker must keep this in mind especially when they are basing the movie upon a book that clearly has succeeded and is popular as The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

One problem of turning a novel into a film is potential audience will watch the movie with knowledge of the story line and the characters of the novel. They will already have a pre-conceived notion of events and it could conflict with the vision of the director. With such a popular novel, Spielberg does a good job with what he thought Walkers’ biggest theme was in the novel.

Throughout the novel, Walker reminds us of the important relationship that exists between sisters, as well as between women. The only way Celie is able to find her individuality is through the help of women in her life. With the encouragement of these women, Celie successfully reached the point that she is also strong and self-able. There are three main characters in Celie’s life that bring her inner strength.

Throughout the novel, Sofia exhibits a rare and admiring sense of strength. She is one of few women to fight back to violent men. Even once Sofia is a victim she maintains her strength. She teaches Celie how to become solid. It was Celie’s jealousy of Sofia’s strength that they eventually became friends who rely on each other and help each other out. Due to this bond Celie gives Sofia the quilt, which symbolizes sisterly love and womanhood.

Shug Avery will not let anyone control her carefree self. Shug is the main strength behind Celie because she gives Celie love that only Nettie has ever shared. Celie feels good about herself when she is around Shug. They even exchange sexual pleasures to show their feelings. Celie eventually leaves Mister with Shug and is the happiest, independent person she never thought she would become.

Nettie is just like Shug that she confirms Celie’s belief in God that there is hope. The letters that Celie longs for gives her hope that her sister is alive and that they will one day meet again and live the life that they once knew about the sisterly bond they so tightly shared.

Throughout the novel, there were many side stories that went in-depth to show how Celie experienced life. I believe that the main story line was about the story of a women growing up through hardships who overcame all realities and found herself as an important human being. Spielberg I believe depicted this as a very shorthand version of the novel. He took the main story and played it out in film. Many of the stories were left out from the novel but I think they were not as important as what the movie is portraying. I believe the movie did a great job of telling the story of Celie and how she had a longing for love who was full of hope and desire.

There could be a controversy of stereotyping in the film over the book. On screen, the situation of a story about a female could form a problem. The director, being a white male, directing a movie mainly about a black female could raise outside issues such as Celie being a housewife and a sex object. Or about the stereotyped image of the aggressive black male of the way Mister treats Celie. When Shug confirms that she is having sexual relations with Mister, we have this image of a violent abusive husband who openly cheats on his wife. Does this actually confirm the stereotype of a black male or is this image drawn through Spielberg?

All the images I had through reading the book I believe were rightfully depicted throughout the movie. The images I had of the characters throughout the novel were not too different through the movie. Really, Spielberg’s characters were Walkers stereotypes or her view for the characters she had in mind. I also think that the movie was just a clip of what the whole novel was getting to. But, the movie grabbed the main point of Walker’s storyline and focused more on Celie’s story. After viewing the movie, I realized more what the book was trying to explain about the hardships through life can be overcome with a little help and courage.


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