(Some Of) The Best Of Purple

I was thinking today about one of my most favorite movies ever, The Color Purple starring Whoopi Goldberg as Ms. Celie, Danny Glover as "Mister" (a.k.a. Albert), and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia.

I am a big fan not only of the movie, but of the actual color.  I have always loved purple (the color), and later, I learned to love The Color Purple.  I know...so gay, right????  ;-)

Anyway, I was thinking about all the scenes in the movie that really moved me and spoke to me, and I quickly found out that I couldn't just think of a few scenes; I just love every scene from the first to the last.

I forced myself to pick out just a couple to share here, and the thoughts that ran/run through my mind when I see them.  I used the IMDB (that's the Internet Movie Data Base, to the uninitiated) to get the script info, and then I just wrote whatever came to mind.

Ms. Celie and Shug Avery (an old flame of Celie's husband, Albert) are walking outside talking...

Shug: More than anything, God love admiration.

Ms. Celie: You saying God is vain?

Shug: No, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pi$$e$  God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it.

Ms. Celie: You saying it just wanna be loved like it say in the Bible?

Shug: Yeah, Celie. Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention... except walk?


Everything wanna be loved. Wow.  Talk about getting down to the bottom line.  Shug Avery was exactly right: all of creation has a primordial need to be appreciated & noticed, and sometimes, even loved.  Morning glories open up as soon as the sun takes notice of them; the honeysuckle simply beguiles us & before we even realize it, our noses are searching for the source of it's heavenly scent; the proud peacock parades his prismatic plumage as if he were up on some fancy catwalk in the Big Apple during Fashion Week, hoping to entice just the right peahen to swoon at the sight of his breath-taking fabulousness.

We all are surrounded by the beauty of nature and--most times--I daresay, we don't even realize it.  We're usually too busy getting through our day to get the chance to take it all in.  Not sure if there is a cure for that, outside of taking a break from our everyday lives and to "stop & smell the roses".

As for God's displeasure in our passing by a field of purple & not noticing it, I can honestly say that I have NEVER been guilty of that particular infraction!  :-)

The next scene I've chosen takes place at what winds up being Ms. Celie's last meal in Albert's house.

Sofia talks about her life, and how she was "asked" to be the maid for a sheriff and his wife, when the wife saw how "clean" Sofia's little black children were.  Sofia--not known for her meekness--tells the sheriff's wife not just NO! but "Hell No!", which of course, simply offended the delicate white lady's genteel sensibilities.  For such a grave offense--with Sofia's children able to see it all--the sheriff pistol-whips Sofia, and, of course, the sheriff's wife got herself the maid she wanted after all.

Though she had obviously had her spirit AND her body broken & wasn't much for speaking out much any more, sitting at what wound up being the beyond-dysfunctional "Last Supper", Sofia recalls a kindness Celie did for her in her new "job" when the sheriff's wife gave Sofia a list of things to pick up at the general store.  Because of the damage done to her eye from the sheriff's attack on her, Sofia couldn't read the list, and Celie takes the list from Sofia & proceeds to gather up the items for her.  In a low, voice, speaking slowly, Sofia tells Celie:

Sofia: Sat in that jail...I sat in that jail 'til I near about done rot to death. I know what it like to wanna go somewhere and cain't. I know what it like to wanna sing...and have it beat out 'ya. I want to thank you, Miss Celie, fo' everything you done for me. I 'members that day in the store with Miss Millie - I's feelin' real down. I's feelin' mighty bad. And when I see'd you - I know'd there is a God. I know'd there is a God.

Toward the end of the meal, when Shug Avery & her husband Grady are getting ready to leave. Ms. Celie finally sees her chance to pick up & leave her nightmare of a life behind, but not before she has a chance to speak her piece:

Shug: [after telling Albert that she and her husband are leaving] Celie is coming with us.

Albert: What?

Shug: Celie is coming with us to Memphis.

Albert: Over my dead body.

Shug: You satisfied? That what you want?

Albert: [to Celie] NOW what's wrong with you?

Ms. Celie: You a low down dirty dog, that's what's wrong. Time for me to get away from you, and enter into Creation. And your dead body be just the welcome mat I need.

...

Ms. Celie: [lunging towards Albert with a knife] I curse you. Until you do right by me, everything you think about is gonna crumble!

Sofia: Don't do it Ms. Celie. Don't trade places with what I been through.

Shug: Come on, Celie, let's go to the car.

Sofia: He ain't worth it, he ain't worth it.

Albert: Who you think you is? You can't curse nobody. Look at you. Your black, you're poor, you're ugly, you're a woman, you're nothing at all!

Ms. Celie: Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail!


As Ms. Celie, Shug & Grady leave Albert's house in their convertible, from the back seat of car, Ms. Celie shouts back at Albert:

Ms. Celie: I’m poor. I'm black. I'm a woman.  I may even be ugly, but, dear God, I’m here!

It's amazing what we humans will endure when we don't even realize our own power to change our lives.  When we spend so much of our lives under the world's thumb or even if we THINK we do, we're made blind to our own value as children of God. Once we've endured a quasi-life in that mistaken mindset, we come to believe the lie that we can't do better & that we don't deserve to be more than we are right now.

Celie's life up to that point gave her no inkling of the innate power she possessed to fix her own broken life.  If we're as "fortunate" as Ms. Celie in the scene described above, and--to quote the great Civil Rights leader, Fanny Lou Hamer--we get sick & tired of being sick & tired, we come to see that whatever it is we believe we may lose by leaving a life or a situation that has long ago broken our spirit & very nearly squeezed every drop of hope out of our bruised hearts has only been an illusion.  In Ms. Celie's case, in that big, old house, she could fit all she wanted to take with her into one suitcase.  Nothing else there mattered.  Nothing but fear & a feeling of hopelessness kept her shackled to her prison. When she finally decided that, by leaving, she couldn't possibly lose more than she already had by remaining in a place that was never her home, and in which she was nothing more than a slave to an "owner" with whom she shared only a bed & a last name.

It's like the old saying, when you've lost everything, you've got nothing left to lose.

When Albert (a.k.a. Mister) & Celie were married, Albert allowed Celie's younger sister, Nettie, to stay with them.  Eventually, Albert took a liking to his younger sister-in-law and made a move on her, which she rejected.  An indignity that Albert, of course, did not take kindly to.  So, when Albert & Nettie got home, he told Celie & Nettie that Nettie had to leave NOW.  I'll never forget how traumatic it was watching that scene as Albert was forcing Nettie out of his house & off his property.  Nettie kept calling Celie's name & Celie promised that if Albert let her stay, she would do anything he wanted, but to no avail.  Nettie was out.

As Nettie started walking down the dirt road away from Albert's house, Celie calls out to Nettie:

Young Celie: Nettie. Write.

Nettie: What?

Young Celie: Write.

Nettie: Nothing but death can keep me from it.


Except for the two children that Celie had given birth to & which were taken from her by her own father (whose ostensibly incestuous relationship with Celie had caused her to become pregnant--we find out later that the man she knew as her father was really her step-father), Nettie was the only other person in the world she considered her real family, and now, Mister forced her to leave.

I cannot imagine how a person even begins to deal with such dire circumstances and such anger and such pain, but when Nettie yelled back to Celie that "nothing but death can keep me from it", I knew that these two sisters had a bond that no mere human could ever sever.  Mister had won the battle and the day again...he won many, many battles over the years...but he was so blind to anyone or anything that didn't contribute toward his own happiness that he failed to realize how hollow his victories would be, and how big a hand he would have in his own inevitable downfall.

There are a lot more scenes I could write about, but I'll just cut to the end.

In the final scene, after Celie has left Albert, and after Celie has found all the letters that her sister had been writing to her through the years from Africa where she had gone to do missionary work, and which Albert had hidden from Celie, she sees a car driving up the road to her home, and thinks it's just some folks who've lost their way.

As Celie looks out the window watching the car get closer & closer, she steps outside onto her porch where we see Shug Avery, Sofia, and her other friends looking out across a field of purple flowers, and shortly we see in the distance, people standing outside the car with unusual clothes for rural Georgia, and big, brightly-colored sashes blowing wildly in the wind.

Celie puts on her spectacles, and looks out past the purple field and she recognizes one of the woman standing there.  Celie lets out a joyful scream, which you just know comes from the deepest part of her being, calling out her sister's name, "Netttttiiiiieeeeeee....", and, barely able to put one foot in front of the other, she runs through the field toward Nettie as Nettie heads to Celie.  When they meet in the field, Celie reaches out her hands toward her sister as if she's not sure she's really seeing what she thinks she sees, and Nettie takes her hands with her own, and--still stunned--Celie & Nettie embrace.

Nettie then introduces Celie to the children she thought were gone from her forever, Adam & Olivia.  Nettie had been taking care of Celie's children while she was in Africa.  Celie's family was whole again.

Back at Celie's house, Shug looks over into the field on the adjacent property and she sees Albert, broken & obvious beaten, merely a shell of the man he once was, tilling the soil with his horse, and Shug sees him watching what's happening with Celie & Nettie, and he smiles slightly watching the two sisters reunite.

I'm not sure Celie knew, but it was Albert who brought Nettie back to Georgia.  He paid the cost of bringing them all back. Whether or not you believe in curses, or if you believe in karma, or if you call it casting your bread upon the waters, Albert knew he had to "do right by" Celie before all he had "crumbled" away.

As the sun was setting, the last scene ended as the first scene of the movie had begun, with the two sisters standing in the field playing their little hand-patting game, and it was as if all those years they were separated never even happened.

Such is the power of love.

MisterC MisterC
46-50, M
2 Responses Mar 13, 2010

Livingwell,<br />
<br />
If you are a "Color Purple" fan, as far as I am concerned, it says a lot about the kind of person you are!<br />
<br />
The kind that would make a great EP friend!<br />
<br />
Hugz back 2 U! :-)<br />
<br />
MisterC

YAY!! YAY!! I do, too! Hugs, livingwell