Page 1. " Show me how to do like you / Show me how to do it. "

This quote from the Stevie Wonder song 'Do Like You' appears at the front of the book.

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Page 1. " Dear God "

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.

Page 3. " She went to visit her sister doctor over Macon "

Macon is a city in central Georgia. The book makes few references to time or place, giving the story a universal feel.

Public DomainMacon

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Page 11. " She say Columbus come here in boats call the Neater, the Peter, and the Santomareater. "
Public DomainBoat - Credit: Genny Anderson
Christopher Columbus sailed in three boats: Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. The Santa Maria was named after the Port of Saint Mary in Spain. 'Pinta'  means 'the painted one' and was probably a nickname given to the ship. 'Nina' means 'girl' and was originally called Santa Clara.