I’ve spent three days, on and off, watching The Color Purple. For the 15th (at least) time. I first saw it in college, way back when, in the theater. I remember sobbing in the theater. I remember the person (who I didn’t know) next to me asking, “Are you okay?”
There are so many themes that resonated with me this time. There’s the strength of Sophia, who wouldn’t stand for Harpo beating her (her great quote: All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men, but I ain’t never thought I’d have to fight in my own house!”), but was beaten by the system anyway. There’s the tenderness of Nettie—who fought Mister who was aiming to rape her—and who held the family together in a way that no one else could have. There’s the gumption of Shug, who refuses to be “respectable,” until she’s ready, and it’s right for her.
And of course, there’s Celie. Strong, loving, smart, funny, and beautiful, although it takes most of her life to figure that out. Finally, there’s her refusal to take less than she deserves. She will settle for happiness, friendship, love, care, and family. Nothing less will keep her anymore.
Lord, let me be a Celie. And don’t let me walk past the color purple in a field and not notice it, because Shug says, “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it. ”