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The 15-Minute Pulitzer: The Color Purple

by Craig B | Jun 25, 2018

Book Review: Alice Walker's winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Color Purple

cover for Alice Walker's novel, The Color PurpleIn 1983, Alice Walker became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Filled with many beautiful metaphors, The Color Purple tells the story of the often brutalized Celie and is set in Walker’s home state of Georgia in the early 20th century.  The epistolary nature of the book allows Walker to open many of the chapters with the phrase, “Dear God,” which became my absolute favorite construction within the book.  Subtly, as details of Celie’s life are revealed, the phrase goes from the sound of a formal address to a cry of anguish and even disbelief.  The metaphorical possibilities of the final half of the novel are quite wide-ranging (can anyone recommend a good literary critic who might expound some of the intricacies for me?) and make me quite interested to see the 1985 film starring Oprah Winfrey with direction by Steven Spielberg to see how the film handles the varying narrative threads. 

Alice Walker turned 74 this year and if you haven’t read this well-loved though oft-challenged novel of hers, consider doing so for her 75th.  Even though it’s not a very long book it tells a story that has been going on for a long time and one we should probably try and keep in the forefront of our minds.


Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.

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