Color Purple Scene
English 11 Summer Reading Book Report on The Color Purple. I chose to create a new scene from the book and explain its significance.
A letter came for me today. But I didn't know that at the time. The mailman came to my house as usual today and said he has a letter for a "Mrs. Johnson". It had my address on it. I didn't know any "Mrs. Johnson," but the mailman insisted I take the letter. "All right," I said.
I looked at that letter all morning. I wondered what was inside of it, but I didn't want to open it because it wasn't mine.
Later that day I was in town and I decided to ask everyone I knew for a Mrs. Johnson. First, I tried the man at the store. He was mean to me as usual but said he doesn't know a Mrs. Johnson. I want up to Sophie and asked her. She said she doesn't know a Mrs. Johnson either. Harpo said he doesn't know her either. I asked a few more people, and they don't know either.
So I go home and talk to Shug. She says, "why it's you!" You're Mrs. Johnson! But I didn't know a Mrs. Johnson I said. Shug says that Mister is Mr. Johnson and I am his wife. So it turns out that the letter was addressed for me.
I opened it up after that. I was excited to read it. I wondered who would want to write me?? The letter was all fancy and white, and clean. I tried to read it:
"Mrs. Johnson", it started, "we are clothing retailers in New York. We are interested in making a deal to sell your jeans in our store." I was overjoyed! I just opened my little shop two weeks ago and I had more customers then I knew what to do with! Now I am going to have even more.
But I liked the idea of seeing New York. Me a girl from the South going to see the big city in the North, and expanding my business. I guess great things can happen to anyone!
How it Changes the Book
There are two aspects of how this additional day would have expanded the book The Color Purple. First of all, it reveals "Mister's" name. Second, it further expands Celie's knowledge of the world by letting her travel to New York.
In The Color Purple, Mister's name is not given. Celie's husband is referred to as "Mr. _____". This is a purposeful action by the author to attempt to dehumanize her husband. Mister is very mean to her throughout most of her life. He makes her get everything for him, he doesn't clean anything, and makes her care for his children which she is not allowed to hurt. She is treated like a slave in her own home.
Calling her husband Mister seems like more then a coincidence because slaves called their overseers "mister" too.
The last name of Johnson is given in the movie version of The Color Purple. It is on the mailbox which is prominently shown several times during the film. A last name would most likely been given to make the mailbox look authentic. In addition, the movie is shown from a 3rd person point of view, while the book is written in letters mostly by Celie. The 3rd person would have known the family's last name and would have used it.
Celie, however, was not used to it, and had no use for her last name anyway. As a housewife, she was not involved in business matters and was not even allowed to get the mail normally. This scene is after Mister loosened his control over her and after she traveled with Shug. In addition, Celie may not have recognized the name because she no longer identifies with it, even though it is her official last name.
In addition, Celie's pants selling business started out small. It quickly grew in the town, and travelers may have been impressed with it, and wanted to carry her wears in their stores. Celie's life is the story of expanding horizons. She starts out not knowing anything about the world around her, but slowly gains a larger perspective through traveling with Shug and reading Nettie's letters.
This is in contrast to the other major character in the book who do not seem to grow throughout the book. Mister refuses to consider anything outside his small little world. The exception to this, of course, is the characters in Africa where the world comes to them via the new road.
In such, this added day shows Celie's growth away from being a mistreated component of Mister and into a successful business person like her real father.
I choose the scene option because I wanted to write creatively, something we don't get to do often in high school.
- Nettie doesn't come home
- Alphinso doesn't rape her
- Mr. __ gets a name (explain why name is given)
- Sophie doesn't yell "hell no" to mayor
- The letters are burned
- After I wrote it: Travel to NYC
- Don't do the big "story-altering" ones
Mr ___'s Name
- Funny or serious?
- Ms Celie gets letter addressed to Mrs. Johnson
- Doesn't know who that is
- Gets into town and asks everyone she knows "who is it"
- Someone tells her it's her
- She is very supprised - but doesn't like her own name