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Tony Grist

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The Color Purple [Jun. 26th, 2005|11:44 am]
Tony Grist
We were talking about The Color Purple (the book not the film.) How it begins in realism and ends in fairytale. All Celie's dreams come true.

Alice Walker believes that people can be redeemed- even out-and-out bastards. This is heartwarming, but is it likely? One woman in the group said she found Mr- so hateful that she wasn't interested in him becoming a pipe-smoking, trouser-sewing old sweetheart. It offended her.

It strikes me, having just read Bleak House, that Celie is a Dickens heroine. She's brutalised and downtrodden but remains unscarred. She's Esther Summerson, she's Little Dorrit. Like them she works out her salvation with needlework.

I was re-reading the Preface. Walker says the book is theology. Pagan theology.
Oddly enough, I'd entirely forgotten that aspect- which suggests to me that it's less essential than Walker thinks and more grafted on. For me The Color Purple is a humanist text. It's about people saving one another and themselves. For it to be truly theological God would have to be an actor in it- and She's not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-06-26 04:26 am (UTC)
I remember now that The Color Purple almost felt like two books with two characters. It didn't seem plausible.

I looked for Bleak House at the bookstore--no copies!

Must I go to the library? I suppose so.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-06-26 04:53 am (UTC)
No Bleak House at the book-store- that's extraordinary!

How about Amazon? Do you ever buy books online?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-06-26 05:05 am (UTC)
I always buy books from Amazon.

I'll try the used bookstore first. Surely some student dropped off Bleak House right after the final exam.

It's too big a book for a library checkout--I suspect one must get into the rhythm of the thing--like Shakespeare--for me, there is a barrier of resistance I must cross, and then I am hooked.

Dull--that's my brain's first assessment of Old Books. A shame. But I get through it, and then the whole world hums and I'm entranced.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-06-26 06:35 am (UTC)
My copy of Little Dorrit has a blue leather binding and gilt edged pages. It was printed in 1929.

I love old books.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-06-26 11:10 am (UTC)

Re: I've always thought...

It's interesting that this is what you remember. I'd forgotten that scene until now.

It seems to me that the story isn't driven by religious ideas (which is what would make it theological in my reckoning) but I could be wrong. After all I've got Walker herself against me.
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