Throughout the first half of the novel there are many scenes of violence, with Celie being raped and beaten by her father and later by Mr. and his children. There is also the memory that her two children who are not only conceived through incest but are also killed by the man that Celie believes is her father. Although there is all this violence going on there is much love, friendship and tenderness. This can be seen with the interaction of Celie and Nettie. Celie promising to look after her sister “with god help” from the lusting eyes of the man they believe is their father.
Nettie also tries to make Celie “smart” by teaching her what she should be learning at school however she has been taken out of school to look after the house and the children as her father believes she’s too dumb. Celie married Mr. But the arrangement for this wedding is more like a cattle market than a marriage proposal with a free cow being the thing that clinches the deal for Mr. These early years of Celie’s life, from the start of the novel where she is fourteen, to the point where Shug Avery comes to stay in Mr’s. House are certainly not tender there is much more hatred and violence here.
Celie is a quite person who doesn’t let anything get to her she seems to plod through these years spent as a maid and childminder to Mr. Without hardly ever complaining. The end of the novel is almost fairytale like with everything going right for Celie. She is surround by loved one and friends. Her sister has arrived back from Africa with her husband and Celie’s two children after about twenty years without seeing Celie. After her father died she and Nettie inherited the house with all the land that encompass it. Celie has turned part of into a shop where she sells the pants that her business “folks pants unlimited” makes.
She has the love of Shug Avery whose help and guidance over the years has helped her find herself making her into a confident woman able to fend for herself. The discomfort at the thought of incest has been removed as Celie and the reader find out that the father of Celie’s two children wasn’t her real dad he was a stepfather, a man her mother married after her real father was hung. This does not remove the memory of the constant rape that occurred eventually leaving Celie barren but it does take away the taint. Pa has died removing him and the horrible childhood that he symbolises behind allowing Celie to move on with her life.
She is no longer the possession of Mr. and in fact she has become friends with him forgiving his past treatment of her and sewing, smoking and talking with him on the porch of her own house. I believe that Celie would not be able to forget and forgive everything that has happened over her hard life. In fact one analogy for the book could be that of a bruise, there is much hurt and violence at the start of the novel yet towards the end this violence diminishes and in the place of the violence there is a bruise. This bruise is not as painful as the beatings but it is tender from the memory of all the violence.
However the bruise and so the novel is only tender because of all the violence and suffering that occurred in the early part of the novel There are parts at the end of the novel that show Celie to be happy. We can see this in her letter headings when instead of addressing them to God or to Nettie as she does throughout the rest of the novel she address them “Dear God Dear stars, Dear Trees, Dear sky, Dear peoples, Dear everything, Dear God” but much of the time even though she is surrounded by lost of people who care for her she seems to be unhappy and isolated.
I think that there is far too much violence in the novel for it to still be classed as a tender novel. There are violent parts and tender parts but the violence far out ways the tenderness so therefore I would have to disagree with the statement that “The Colour Purple” is a tender novel.