The Color Purple

[By Kenton Rambsy]
Over the past ten years, Wikipedia has become a major source for how internet users access information on various subjects. Some people question the legitimacy of Wikipedia when comparing the site to more academic sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica. There have even been numerous studies that have examined the credibility of the site. These studies are evidence that for years to come, Wikipedia will certainly be a force to reckon with in terms of scholarship.
In coming years, we must also ask questions such as to what extent does Wikipedia influence on African American literature. Over the next week, I will identify five novels from the “100 Novels Collection” that have extensively developed Wikipedia pages. Today, I will report on what I have learned about Alice Walker’s  The Color Purple from Wikipedia so that we may soon understand how Wikipedia plays a role in shaping/molding larger audiences impressions of black writing.

What I can learn about The Color Purple from Wikipedia:
  • The Novel received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction.
  • The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.
  • I learned the publisher of the novel was Harcourt BraceJovanovich.
  • I learned the plot summary of the novel.
  • I learned the significance of major symbols in the novel: God, the color purple, letters, pants.
  • I was provided with a character analysis of major figures in the novel: Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery, Albert/Mr. Johnson, Miss Millie, and Sofia.
  • I learned that the novel has been adapted into a 1983 film directed by Stephen Spielberg staring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover, a musical staring singer Fantasia Burino and primarily financed by Oprah Winfrey (also, who played a character in the 1983 film) as well as a 2008 BBC 4 Radio broadcast show starting Nadine Marshall.
  • I was provided with the ISBN numbers to 12 specific editions of the novel.
  • I was provided with links to related fields of interest such as Feminist literature, Black feminism, and African-American literature.

[Related: 30 Days of 100 Novels]