Biographical Story of Celie in “The Color Purple”

Many communities undermine the rights of girls. Most of the traditional society gave the boys priority of to go to school. In the “Color Purple”, the author centers Celie as the main character of the novel who faces several challenges in her life. When Celie if fourteen years old, Celie’s stepfather abuses her sexually and threatens to kill Celie’s mother. Celie writes a letter to God explaining the challenges that Celie is facing. Due to the rape of the stepfather, Celie gets pregnant and gives birth to two children for her stepfather. The stepfather takes the babies from Celie and offers them for adoption. When Celie is twenty years old, the stepfather marries her to Albert whose wife had died recently. After a short while, Albert starts abusing Celie mentally and physically. The paper discusses the biography of Celie from birth, Celie’s formal operations, the ways that Celie took to manage her anger, and the parenting care that Celie got.

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Celie’s Demographic Life.

Celie has a sister by name Nettie. Celie’s mother is mentally ill, and stepfather is now the one to look after Celie and Nettie. The parental care that Celie gets from the stepfather does not favor Celie. The stepfather does not take Celie to school and rapes Celie when she is fourteen years old. The father then beats Celie and threatens to kill Celie’s mother. Due to the sexual harassment, Celie makes her body to be like wood so that she cannot endure pain during rape. Celie does not go to school when she first gets pregnant (Salif and Sadehi 2014). Celie gives birth to two children by her stepfather who takes the babies away from Celie after a short while and gives them to adoption. When Celie’s mother dies, the stepfather marries another wife but still abuses Celie sexually. When Celie reaches twenty, the stepfather marries her to Albert, who had just lost his wife.

When Nettie comes to visit Celie, Albert wants to have sex with Nettie, but Nettie refuses. Albert tells Celie to send Nettie away, but Celie cannot do so. Nettie is not pleased with the way Albert’s children treats Celie. By the help of Celie’s friend, Celie finds her way through her life by resisting the fixed role in gender. The hard life that Celie gets compares Celie with the hard-bitten bird. Celie is given a fresh breathe in life when her friend Guo decides to stay with them to ensure that Albert does not beat Celie.(Harder 2012) Celie starts making pants that give her a way forward, and she can create a new life because of the designs of making the pants.

Erickson Stages.

Through a person’s life from childhood to adulthood, one has to pass through several psychosocial stages. In Erickson’s state of psychosocial development, “the children have to learn whether their parents give the children the basic needs” (Harder 2012). First, Celie does not get the basic needs in her life, as the stepfather does not take her to school. Second, the stepfather abuses Celie sexually to extend that Celie gets pregnant. “The relationship between a parent and the children creates a portion of either trust or mistrust between the two” (Harder 2012). The state of parental care that Celie get makes her not trust the stepfather. In the psychosocial development stage, the children start exploring their surroundings, and the children begin developing their first interest. When the parents encourage the self-sufficient behaviors, the children end up developing autonomy sense. In Celie’s life, her stepfather demands a lot from Celie making her develop shame and doubt in her stepfather. When Celie gets married to Albert, Celie reaches a time that she discovers herself and identifies a way that she can make it in the life. Celie works hard in creating different designs of pants that causes her to make a change in her life.

A person’s life experience gives them lessons that they can use in future. The life experience of Celie taught her how to cope up hardship. Celie does not experience a better life until Celie meets Shug. At home, the father used to abuse her sexually, and when Celie gets married, Albert treats her like a slave and not as his wife. The core pathology stage begins when a person is at their adolescent stage. In Celie’s life, Celie experiences core pathology. In the core pathology stage, the negative resolutions that a person gets destruct a person’s lifestyle. When Celie is fourteen, her stepfather demands a lot from her. Celie’s mother is sick and cannot take care of Celie. The stepfather beats Celie, rapes her and impregnates Celie. When Celie dos give birth, the stepfather takes the babies from Celie and offers them for adoption. The states affect Celie’s life negatively as the life becomes unbearable for her,

Freud Stages

In human life, there are several developmental stages. The developmental stages are oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latent stage and genital stage. Celie’s childhood experiences influenced her adulthood life (Benveniste 2015). The abuses that Celie gets makes Celie not to pass through all the development stages. Freud states, “The oral development stage allows the formation of the ego function. The different stages of libido development make the baby learn to walk and talk, allows infant toilet training, development of the child’s private organs, and libido organs”. In latent stage, the cachexia moves from an interest in the body to the interest in culture. The genital phase begins at the puberty stage when a girl starts menstruation cycle. Throughout Celie’s life, Celie does not get the chance to pass through the steps. Celie gives birth when she is not mature enough to be a mother. Secondly, Celie does not mature well in her genital stage of development because of the stepfather’s sexually abuse.

Piaget Stages.

According to Piaget, there are several stages of child development. The stages of child’s development are the actual operations and the formal operational stages (Joubish and Khurram 2011). In the concrete operational stage, the children’s daily experience determine what is contained in their thoughts. The available properties are useful for the children as they develop their reasoning by doing direct communication. There is an improvement in the thinking capacity of children. This improves the thinking of a child. Celie faces the formal operation due to her life experience. Celie develops a skill that changes her way of life, Celie starts making different designs of pants. Meeting Shug helps Celie to discover the Celie to find out what love is.

Kohlberg Stages

According to Kohlberg, child’s moral development is through six stages (Kohlberg, 1973). The stages are obedience and punishment orientation, self-interest orientation, social norms, law and order morality, social contract orientation and universal ethical orientation. Celie faces punishment from her stepfather when Celie tries to refuse to do what the stepfather does even if it is wrong. Celie’s mother is sick, and Celie lacks the person a person to motivate her and develop the self-interest to do the work at home. Though it is a good thing to obey law and order to maintain a functioning society, Celie’s stepfather does not see the stage of moral development because he abuses Celie. The helps in separating the pleasant behaviors from the bad ones.

Westerhoff Stages

According to John Westerhoff, two theories are explaining the development of faith in writing (Westerhoff, 1976). Westerhoff explains that faith grows the in steps and process. The steps are affiliative faith, experienced faith, owned and searching faith. Experienced faith describes the faith that one gets during the childhood stages from the people who support us. The interaction between the people makes them create a sense of trust. The parents and the guardian’s actions to children determine the faith and trust the children have towards them. The “Color Purple” explains Westerhoff theory through Celie’s experience. First, Celie has always experienced negative things from the stepfather and Albert that makes her develop the experience faith. The action of Celie’s stepfather makes Celie not to trust and have faith in stepfather but to search for faith in God. Second, the interaction between Celie and Shug makes Celie develop faith in snug and falls in love with Shug.

Continuity and Discontinuity

The two theories that explain the how a person develops are continuity and discontinuity. Continuity shows the development of a person either progressively or continuously. Discontinuity shows the growth of a person in several distinct staged series. Through the entire life of Celie, Celie does not develop in the sequence of the different stages. Celie does not necessarily build her life as the pregnancy forces her to be a mother when she is still young. (Talif and Sadehi 2014). Also, Celie does not get the parental care because Celie’s mother had mental illness and died when she was still young and the person to take care of her was the stepfather. The negative things that Celie passes through make Celie to be full anger. Celie does not trust anyone, but she can only tell God the truth by writing letters to God. To overcome the anger, Celie writes letters to God explaining the challenges that she passes through.


The stages a person passes during their growth determines a person’s adulthood life. There are several challenges that one can pass through that affects one’s life either negatively or positively. Celie faces different problems in her life. The stepfather does not take Celie to school, rapes her and impregnates Celie. When Celie is married to Albert, Albert treats Celie like a slave. Believing and trusting in God helps one to overcome anger. One can also change their life through discovering different ways of earning a living and interacting with different people. As for Celie, the making of pants changed her life. Meeting Shug made Celie learn her way of love.



Benveniste, D. (2015) Sigmund Freud and libido development. Retrieved from

Harder, A, F. (2012). Development Stage of Erick Erickson. Retrieved From

Joubish, F, M., Khurram, M, A. (2011) Cognitive development in Jean Piagets work and its implication for teachers. World Applied Sciences Journal, 12(8) 1260-1265

Kohlberg, L. (1973). The claim to moral adequacy of a highest stage of moral judgment. Journal of Philosophy, 70(18) 630–646.

Talif, R., Sadehi, K, T. (2014) Characters in process in the “Color Purple”. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 118(13) 425-432

Westerhoff, J. H. (1976) Will our children have faith? New York: Seabury Press