Friday, February 26, 2016

Our Shared Shelf: February

The amazing feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, continues into February with a classic.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker was a book I'd heard of often but never read and could barely discuss due to the not having read it.

The story follows two black sisters living in the South.  The story unfolds as Celie writes letters to God, another form of journaling. Eventually they become letters to her sister Nettie, who then writes letters in return.  Years pass between the sisters and their contact.  It's a heartwarming tale of the power of love, family, and finding yourself.  I can easily see why this is a classic and how Walker is heralded for her writing.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"I don't even look at mens. That's the truth. I look at women, tho, cause I'm not scared of them."
-Pg 15

"A girl child ain't safe in a family of men. [...] I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me." -Pg 46

"I twirl the spit around my finger. I think bout ground glass, wonder how you grind it. But I don't feel mad at all. Just interest." -Pg 58

"Angels all in white, white hair and white eyes, look like albinos. God all white too, looking like some stout white man work at the bank." -Pg 91

"Have you ever seen a white person and a colored sitting side by side in a car, when one of 'em wasn't showing the other one how to drive it or clean it? I got out the car, opened the back door and clammed in. She sat down up front." -Pg 101*

"She just like me, Mama say. She drink, she fight, she love mens to death. She work in a roadhouse. Cook. Feed fifty men, screw fifty-five." -Pg 116

"The little I knew about my own self wouldn't have filled a thimble!" -Pg 123

"Do not be offended, Sister Nettie, but our people pity women such as you who are cast out, we know not from where, into a world unknown to you, where you must struggle all alone, for yourself.  So I am an object of pity and contempt, I thought, to men and women alike." -Pg 149

"She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God." -Pg 176

"Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind, water, a big rock." -Pg 179

"Why any woman give a shit what people think is a mystery to me." -Pg 182

"Well, I say, if words could kill, I'd be in the ambulance." -Pg 219

"Some colored people so scared of whitefolks they claim to love the cotton gin." -Pg 233

*I wanted to come back to this because it amused me. Sofia, a black woman, is teaching her mistress how to drive and her mistress offers to drive her to go see her children.  But the mistress tells her they can't sit in front together, so Sofia has to sit in back. Which is hysterical because traditionally those in service of others would be driving or up front while the more distinguished individual sat in back. Here is a clear reversal of that role, and something I would suspect Walker did on purpose.

Next month: TBD

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