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Adaptation of the Color Purple from Alice Walker and Steven Speilberg's movie - Research Paper Example

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Adaptation of the Color Purple from Alice Walker and Speilberg's movie Alice Walker is a poet,author and activist of African American heritage.She is an acclaimed writer of both essays and fiction work, in which she talks candidly about gender and race…
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Adaptation of the Color Purple from Alice Walker and Steven Speilbergs movie
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Adaptation of the Color Purple from Alice Walker and Steven Speilberg's movie

Download file to see previous pages... Her best known and most critically acclaimed novel is The Colour Purple, written in 1982, which earned her a Pulitzer Prize and a National Literature Award. The novel was adapted for screen-play by Steven Spielberg in 1985, in what was a significant departure from his summer blockbusters. The film follows the life of Celie, a young girl of African American heritage, and via her life captures the problems faced by African American women, including racism, poverty and sexism. While the movie garnered mainly positive critical response with prominent critics besting it for its sentimental, emotional and absolute truths about American history, there was also some stinging criticism. This paper attempts to ascertain whether or not the adaptation was successful, when compared to the great novel. After viewing the movie at its premier, Alice Walker didn’t become its big fan. However, after being the recipient of many positive reactions and letters, she came to the realization that, while the movie did not expressly show her vision, it did convey the correct message. She claimed that, while every fan might miss the best part, what was there would be its gift, and that she hoped they would accept the spirit with which it was given (LaGrone 50). She also quite often answers questions on whether she liked the film by saying that the book was not film and vice versa. She is right. This is the reason why Spielberg took the decision to differ slightly from this great novel. However, he stayed true to her message, especially on overcoming adversity. The screenplay creates a successful and faithful adaptation, via its capturing of the novel’s characters, plot, setting, themes and characters (LaGrone 51). Spielberg faithfully sticks to the central themes of the novel. In the novel, Celie is used by Walker as the protagonist, showing how asserting oneself aids an individual in resisting oppression. This comes out in her letters to Nettie, especially touching on Albert, her cruel husband (McBride 172). The movie also sheds light upon this theme. Spielberg, however, turns these letters into scenes full of power and vitality. In one standout scene during dinner, where Albert discovers that Celie is moving to Memphis with Shug and leaving him in the process, there is the use of direct quotes lifted from the book. Cellie shoots to her feet and calls him “lowdown dog”. In the novel, Celie writes that she is black, poor, ugly and could not cook, but at least she was there (McBride 172). However, during the film, Celie says this to Albert, straight to his face. Spielberg incorporates the same core characters into the movie, from the book. Whoopi Goldberg encapsulates what Walker intended, but breathes new life into Celie’s character, via her hidden smiles, sly winks and muffled laughter. While this is not evident in the novel, these differences aid the audience to see and hear Celie’s transformation from an invisible, passive woman into an independent and strong one (Lupack 101). The movie also closely portrays Shug’s character, just as in the book, where she changes Celie’s life via acting as a catalyst. The screen translation, however, has one flaw, as it contains scenes that show Shug as a vulnerable woman. The movie attempts to create conflict with her father who is a preacher and disapproves of her lifestyle. She is depicted trying to reconcile and impress her dad. In the book, however, she is a free from oppression rebel who is also quite unrepentant. The films characterization of Albert is also slightly off what can be gleaned from the book. At first, the movie portrays Albert accurately as a cold, domineering husband who wed Celie not for love but convenience. Later, it differs slightly from the book since Albert ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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