The Color Purple Discussion Questions

August 13, 2016

the color purple

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

Jackie B’s original book review is found here.


1. What was your perception of this book prior to reading it?

  • Re-Readers: Did your perceptions change upon another read?
  • First Time Readers: Were your expectations met?

2. Why do you believe Walker selected a quote from Stevie Wonder’s Do Like You for the epigraph?

Show me how to do like you.
Show me how to do it.

3. Epistolary novels are told through letters. How did this format influence your enjoyment?

4. This book was set in the early 1900’s. How has our world changed? How has it stayed the same?

5. What does Walker show us about the impact society has on education? Sexism? Racism? Community roles?

6. Did any of the characters speak to you? Did they seem real and believable? Who was your favorite character?

7. What does Walker disclose about the difference between self-value and the value others see in us?

8. Where does your strength/sense of self come from? Do you see parallels in what the women of The Color Purple experience?

9. How does the patriarchy that Celie experiences in the United States differ from that of the patriarchy Nettie experiences in Africa?

10. What are differences in societal views of male and female roles and expectations in the United States and Africa that Walker shares? Why does this matter?

11. Why does Sophia so frequently defer to violence? How does this change your opinion of Sophia? Why does your opinion change?

12. How do you see faith portrayed in this novel? Is there a difference with faith in friends, faith in family, and faith in religion.

13. How does money factor into the life experiences of the women in this book? Are these universal experiences?

14. Why do you believe Walker added the dedication page and closing notes?

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