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The Epistolary Style of The Color Purple

            There are several consequences of 'The Color Purple' being written in epistolary style. The majority of the book is written by the protagonist, Celie, in the form of letters. She first begins writing to God while she is going through a very dark stage in her life where she is being abused by the man she believes is her father, and it is apparent that she uses letters to God as an outlet for her to express herself freely. The only line in the novel which is not written in letter format is the opening line, "You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy" (Walker, A., 1982). This is extremely important to understanding why Celie begins to write the letters to God. What he's says to her makes her feel guilty as if  After her father forbids her from telling anyone about her abuse, she tells God. The consequences of these letters to God on the novel is captivating, as the reader gets to know the main character intimately as they read what she had presumably intended only God to read. .
             From the very first letter, we see that Celie is unsure of herself after the trauma of being raped. She writes "I am" before crossing it out and writing "I have always been a good girl" (Walker, A., 1982). From this we see the impact of the abuse she suffered had on her and how it made her question herself, despite the fact that she had done nothing wrong. The letters are written in colloquial style, Celie writes the same way in which she talks. This is an important feature of her letters as it is more realistic for the reader. We gain an insight into what life was like for a black woman in America at the time and although she speaks of school, it is evident that she is not highly educated from her letters. Despite this, Celie manages to express herself in the form of letters, and we see her progression from writing only to God, and then advancing to address her letters to her sister Nettie.

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