The Color Purple

by: Alice Walker

Letters 11–21

Celie has difficulty defining, interpreting and speaking about her self because, as she confesses to God, she has grown so numb in the face of adversity. She admits that, to get by, she pretends she is a tree. Rather than react emotionally or intellectually to adversity, Celie has found it easier and less dangerous to become wooden—to remain stone-faced and unthinking rather than attempt to reflect, interpret, or narrate.