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In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Celie leads a life filled with abuse at the hands of the most important men in her life. As result of the women who surround and help her, Celie becomes stronger and overcomes the abuse she experienced. The three most influential women in Celie’s life are here sister Nettie, her daughter-in-law Sofia and the singer Shug Avery. These are the women who lead Celie out of her shell and help her turn from and shy, withdrawn woman to someone who was free to speak her mind and lead her own independent life.
Celie is inspired by her sister’s independence, determination and perseverance in Africa among foreign people whom Nettie cares about deeply. Celie saw the impact that a woman could have on others and felt empowered to overcome the abuse she experiences. Nettie is someone that Celie tries to shelter from the physical and sexual abuse of their father. It is also Nettie who Celie looks to for education when her father pulls her out of school, and for support when she moves in with Mr. ____ where she was abused by him and his children. When Nettie runs away, Mr. ____ hides the letters sent to Celie thereby cutting off the sister’s communication, which left them heartbroken.
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“I sit here in this big empty house by myself trying to sew, but what good is sewing gon do? What good is anything? Being seem like a awful strain.” [sic] (Walker 262). Upon discovering Nettie’s letters, Celie finds a new desire to live because her sister was alive. Nettie also serves as Celie’s only link to her children. Nettie gives Celie pride in her children who were intelligent and prosperous in Africa, which gives Celie newfound confidence. All her life, Nettie was the one who always supported and loved Celie but when Celie wasn’t receiving her letters, she looked to Sophia for inspiration.
Sophia is a strong woman who at first intimidated Celie but after getting to know each other they become friends and are there support each other in the course of the abuse they each suffer through. Sophia’s size and attitude came as a shock to Celie when Mr. ____’s son Harpo brings her to the house for his father to meet. She does not let Harpo’s father talk down to her, and talking…