Ideas for Procedures
Procedures for lesson plans for The Color Purple invite students to consider a variety of perspectives within the novel and about the novel. These reading activities will keep students asking questions and creating their own connections and observations about the novel.
Activity 1— Students will work in groups to compare the main character, Celie, with other female characters in the novel, mainly Nettie, Shug Avery, Sofia, and Squeak. They may use a modified Venn diagram to monitor the similarities and differences amongst the characters. Afterwards, groups will take turns explaining their analysis to the class.
Activity 2—Students will read Robert Frost’s poem, “Design." Teacher will ask students how Frost’s poem relates to Celie’s plight, themes within the novel, and the title of the novel.
Activity 3—Teacher will explain the purpose for literary criticism in literature. The teacher will decide which criticisms to use in class and assign one school of criticism per collaborative learning group. Students will then define the main points of that type of criticism. Students will then analyze the novel according to their school of literary criticism. Choices include:
- Jungian Criticism
- Marxist Criticism
- Freudian Criticism
- Reader-Response Criticism
- New Historicism Criticism
- Feminist Criticism
- Metaphorical Criticism
- Biographical Criticism
- Sociological Criticism
- Political Criticism
Afterwards, students will provide a presentation explaining their form of criticism and how they analyzed the novel, The Color Purple, based on their literary school of criticism.
Activity 4—Students will watch Steven Spielberg’s 1985 movie version of The Color Purple. (*This viewing might require a letter home to parents as there are a few explicit scenes within the movie.) Afterwards, the class will hold a discussion on the following topics:
- Why did the screenplay from Spielberg's version eliminate certain parts of the novel from the movie version?
- How did the movie version compare to the novel overall?
- How did Spielberg use music and sound to create mood? How was mood established in the novel?
- Ask students to consider themes such as violence, feminism, love, and religion in the movie. Open the floor to comments and observations on these themes.