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Fidelity Theory and The movie

Fidelity refers to the ‘quality of being faithful’. An adaptation is judged based on whether the film precisely produces its source or not. And also An adaptation of the movie is an attempt to please the masses. There is an enormous difference between the quality of the novels and the quality of movies, as there are no limitations to writing a novel, but the movie director has many limitations within which they have to work. ‘The Color Purple’ is a movie adapted by Steven Spielberg in 1985. The style of the Novel and movie’s language states depression, trauma, illiteracy, and emotional state of mind. Alice Walker used the realistic kind of language that was superbly presented in the movie by Steven Spielberg. Of course, Spielberg has attempted to be true to its source, but no matter how much a director tries to be faithful to its source it never satisfies the imagination of a reader which he/she has imagined while reading the book. Alice Walker’s novel was more painful and complex than the movie, although, Steven did justice with the novel, he lacked some main points that Walker wanted to focus upon. ‘The Color Purple’ also won awards for the best movie, best actors, and for its themes. Steven Spielberg has somehow managed to show the Celie’s (Whoopi Goldberg) brutal life. No one might indeed think that Whoopi Goldberg, much known for her roles as a comedy actress, can play the crucial role of Celie. She has done her job excellently and this marks her finest debut in the film industry. At first, the movie focuses much on Celie’s life which makes viewers sympathize with her. Dissecting Celie’s story as her own story would be wrong, as Celie wasn’t the only one who suffered women’s oppression. It is a story of all the American-African women who were dealing with Women’s persecution in their day-by-day routine. Walker’s women made their bond together, whereas Steven presented the movie by comforting American mythologies. This is a movie where blacks are happily accepting their conditions. The patriarchal men Walker represents to the reader are not shown similarly in the movie. They aren’t portrayed as harsh men, nor do they dominate women. The character of Albert (Danny Glover) was not shown as much as good as it was in the novel. He was shown as a man who was befuddled with his own emotions. The other character that is being portrayed well was the character of Sofia. The role was played by Oprah Winfrey, she has beautifully done her job, a woman full of pride and confidence. The subject of lesbianism which Walker focused on was not much shown by Steven Spielberg. The natural bond was there but in Much compressed terms.

Comparison between the Movie and the Novel

Speilberg has adapted almost all the incidents in the movie to show Women’s oppression. there were very few differences between the movie and the novel. The very first thing that is different in the movie is Letters, in the novel we see that Celie is writing letters, while in the movie the only one who is writing letters is Nettie. The novel focuses more emphasis on writing which is good, writing helps people to understand their self. So the epistolary form of the novel is important and relevant from the structure point of view and contributes towards the reasons for Celie’s frustration and suffering expressed in the novel clearly, while in the movie, it is not possible to picturise all Celie’s emotions, frustrations, suffering and pain through the letters.

In the movie, she argues with Mr. ___ when Celie wants to cut her stepdaughter’s hair and he refuses as he believes that cutting hair’ would bring bad omens into the house. In return, he stands and slaps her as it hurts his male ego. She revolts against Mr.___ and this shows the aggressiveness of Celie but in the novel, The letters in the beginning show Celie as the meek and submissive protagonist.

Celie in her letters, always begins with “ Dear God”, however, when her life becomes more and more pathetic and disappointing her faith in God falters. she again and again questions the presence of God, whether he exists or not. By that time, the letters to God were replaced by letters to Nettie. Celie wrote, “Dear Nettie, I don’t write to God no more. I write to you.” But the movie does not touch on this topic.

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The film does not show much more about Nettie and the Olinka tribe than the book explains. Because of this, the relationship between the two sisters is not developed in the movie. An emotional reunion between Nettie and Celie is shown at the end of the film, which gives us a sense of separation from Celie from her children.

Walker has shown the growth in Celie’s life by reuniting the love between Albert and Celie. But The ending of the movie doesn’t justify the ending of Alice Walker’s novel. Albert suffers from pain and emotions but he isn’t able to get back to Celie. And even Celie was not in a condition to forgive him. Spielberg has shown a happy ending to Celie’s life, but he leaves out the life of Albert.

Criticism of The Color Purple

As a novel and movie, ‘The Color Purple’ has seen much criticism by the blacks. A lot of controversies were going on about the novel, the film, and the author. The Color Purple constructs a highly negative image of the Black community, especially Black Men. Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times that there were ‘titters’ throughout the audience at the critics’ preview screening that he attended. Another reviewer summed up Spielberg’s effort as being ‘the first Disney film about incest.’ The author of the piece in New York magazine headlined his article “Purple People-Eater” and called the film “a hate letter to Black men”, then labeled the novel a “quick, heart-pounding read” and “candy pounding itself off as soul food.”

Not only the film was attacked by the critics, but the novel also got much criticism. Even the females were criticizing the film and movie. Pauline Kael of The New Yorker did not like the book or the film. She felt that Alice Walker got away with ‘rampant female chauvinism.’

Even Whoopi Goldberg said that ‘those who criticize The Color Purple for showing negative images of black men should also criticize Prince for the disturbing images he showed of black women being dumped in garbage cans in Purple Rain.’

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