This quote from the Stevie Wonder song 'Do Like You' appears at the front of the book.
The book is written in epistolary form. This allows Walker to use Celie's voice. For her, the letters are not just a form of communication (most are not sent) but a safe way of having a voice.
By using this literary style, Walker draws on a long tradition of the epistolary novel in female literature. Black vernacular English is used for Celie’s letters and this fixes the novel within the tradition of African-American writers. Nettie’s letters are written in standard American English and symbolize the colonized tongue. However, as the non-standard dialect is the primary voice it legitimises the dialect and those who speak it.
Macon is a city in central Georgia. The book makes few references to time or place, giving the story a universal feel.