In the 1940’s African American women were much looked down upon. They were seen as the caregivers, maids and cooks with little to no rights. Living in The United States in the 1940’s was exceptionally different for African Americans as represented in this quote; “Only white people can ride in the beds and use the restaurant. And they have different toilets from coloured.”(135) Black people had no voice or rights to stand up for this terrible injustice. Growing up it was seldom that black women were given the right to go to school, but if given the opportunity, they were taught to not be proud of their culture or the colour of their skin. Celie grew up with little to no self-confidence from years of being abused and raped by the men in her life. She portrayed this by being pulled out of school at an early age, represented in this quote. “You too dumb to keep going to school, Pa say.” (9) By making this remark Celie’s father had put this into her head and made her believe she was worthless. This also shows how little freedom she had to be able to stand up to her father, as she loved going to school. Celie knew that if she talked back to men she would be abused, as this is the way it had been her whole life. Abuse to women was accepted because men needed to show their superiority and power over women. Celie’s father would find anything and everything she did as a chance to abuse her as shown in this quote; “He beat me today cause he say I winked at a boy in church.”(5) Celie has explained numerous times that as a result of her upbringing, and the way men have always treated her she is afraid of them. Celie stayed away from men and leaned on women for comfort and love because of the constant abuse she has had to deal with. As a result of Celie’s childhood she has been brought up to believe she is lesser than men and white people, which later gives her the fire needed to stand up to the men who have treated her badly throughout her life.
Marriage at this time was seen as nothing else but marrying a woman who will clean, cook and take care of children. Love wasn’t on a man’s mind as they seized to believe it existed. Mr.____ wanted Nettie because of her looks but was unable to marry her because she was too young, so he settled for Celie. When Celie’s father was giving her to Mr.___ he left her by telling Mr.___ a nasty remark. “She aint fresh tho, but I spect you know that.” (7) Men had no respect for women at this time, which causes women to believe all men will treat them terribly. Celie wanted nothing more in her life than to love someone, she craved it just as shown in this quote; “Everything want to be loved, us sing and holler, just trying to be loved.”(23) Celie had only loved one person in her life. Her sister. She never knew what romantic love felt like and believed she could never feel it with a man. Women were seen as useless, unless they were married to a man. Men married women to have children, they didn’t care about love or happiness,