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Although it may seem that an impactful book couldn’t relate to a song by Stevie Wonder, those assumptions are proven wrong. The Color Purple is a novel written by author Alice Walker that discusses issues women face, such as abuse and the lack of an education. In this novel, the reader sees how women forming strong bonds can forge significant friendships that subsequently result in their independence and acceptance of themselves. The novel is told from the point of view of the main characters Celie and Nettie; however, it also surrounds the main characters Shug, Albert, and Sofia. The epigraph seen at the beginning of the novel in which Stevie Wonder sings “Show me how to do as you Show me how to do it” relates to Celie’s character development because Sofia teaches Celie how to defend herself, Shug teaches Celie about her body, and Shug also taught her about the color purple about life and God.

The epigraph relates to Celie’s character development because it states “Show me how to do it” and Sofia teaches her how to defend herself. Celie writes “He beat me today cause he says I winked at a boy in church. I may have got something in my eye but I didn’t wink”(Walker 12). Before Celie’s character development, she let herself be beaten for actions she did not do. On this occasion, Celie faces a brutal beating from her step-father Alphonso and can’t fight back. In contrast to herself, Celie describes Sofia as “Still a big strong girl. Arms got muscle. Legs, too. She swings that baby about like it is nothing. She has a little pot on her now and gives you the feeling she is all there. Solid. Like if she sits down on something, it is mash. She tells Harpo, Hold the baby, while she comes back in the house with me to get some thread”(Walker 28). Here Sofia is described as strong and throughout the novel she has always remained independent. Sofia has freedom which is seen in the way she commands Harpo and doesn’t let herself be beaten. Sofia is big and strong enough to defend herself at any given time. Sofia later develops a bond with Celie and teaches her how to demand respect and defend herself. Stevie Wonder’s lyric says “ Show me how to do it” which signifies Celie being able to learn from Sofia.

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The epigraph also shows the growth of Celie because the lyric talks about being educated and learning, which is seen in how Celie can learn about her body from Shug. “First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grabs hold of my titties. Then he pushes his thing inside my pussy. When that hurts, I cry. He started to choke me, saying you better shut up and get used to it… I feel sick every time I will be the one to cook”(Walker 8). This diction shows Celie’s lack of knowledge because of the way she describes herself as being raped and pregnant. Celie doesn’t know what is happening to her body because she was never educated about these things. Shug tells Celie “Why Miss Celie, she say, you still a virgin. Listen, she said, right down there in your pussy is a little button that gets real hot when you do you know what with somebody… Lot of finger and tongue work. Button? Finger and tongue? My face was hot enough to melt itself. She says, Here, take this mirror and go look at yourself down there, I bet you’ve never seen it, have you?”(Walker 49). This is where Shug teaches Celie about her body and she educates her about sex and masturbation. Shug teaches Celie about self-pleasure and tells her to see her body in the mirror. Shug can teach Celie about sex and Celie learns about her body, which relates to the epigraph and the further development of Celie’s character.

Lastly, Celie’s character growth compares to the epigraph because she learns about life and God. Shug explains to Celie that “God is inside you and everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only those who search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifests itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. God ain’t a he or a she, but a It”(Walker 98). Celie would always write to God but began to lose her faith in God because she believed God to be a man and all of the men in her life have failed her and only brought her pain. However Shug teaches Celie that God is in all people and God is not identified as a gendered person, God is something that lives through faith in those who believe. Shug further states “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it”(Walker 98). Celie had always noted that Shug wore the color purple which was beautiful and royal. Shug teaches Celie that the color purple signifies beauty and she tells Celie that God gets angry if people focus on the bad things of life and don’t appreciate the good things there are to life. Shug teaches Celie about the color purple in life and how to view God which further expands the development of Celie.

The epigraph which states “Show me how to do like you Show me how to do it” compares to the development of Celie’s character because of the many things she learns to follow, do, and appreciate. Celie grows as a character because Shug teaches her about God, Shug also educates her on her body, and Sofia shows her about demanding respect through strength. The lessons Celie learned from Sofia and Shug transformed her into a strong, independent, faithful woman.       

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