The Color Purple By Alice Walker

The Color Purple By Alice Walker

Fear of the unknown is ultimately the cause of censorship

Shayna Kapadia | Staff Writer

Written by Alice Walker, one of the most censored writers in America, The Color Purple’s descriptions about the struggles of colored women in the south earns its place at number 17 on The American Library Association’s top 100 banned/challenged books. The Color Purple, set in the early 1900s, is a collection of fictional letters that the main character, Celie, addresses to God where she details her rape and abuse. These subjects are why The Color Purple is subject to such controversy. “Books are censored…out of fear.” explains Ms. Antonacci. “Fear of allowing people to have original thoughts. Fear of allowing people to think outside the box.”

The book was first challenged in 1984 and continued to be in almost every preceding year. Anne Blythe, in an article from the NewsObserver, describes the case in 2012 in Brunswick County, North Carolina where commissioner Pat Sykes asked for the book to be removed from the 11th grade AP curriculum due to its “immorality, the filth, the F word and N word”. However, the decision made by Superintendent Edward Pruden won a vote, 3-2, in favor of keeping the book. The superintendent also wrote a letter addressing Pat Sykes concerns, “With the guidance of a caring and sensitive instructor, ‘The Color Purple’ can teach our older adolescents many worthwhile lessons about American history, human nature, and the will to survive and rise above unfortunate circumstances.”

In a later interview, by Megan Labrise, Walker reflects why her book is so often challenged, “Some read the first five pages and decided they were doing society a service by silencing the voice of a 14-year-old uneducated black girl whose only language was what she’d heard in her community, where people rarely spoke in euphemisms.” Despite the The Color Purple won the Pulitzer Prize just a year after its release. Two years later, the film, directed by Steven Spielberg, was nominated for 11 Academy awards.