The Color Purple: Critical approaches

Generic readings

A literary text can be read from many different perspectives with different, sometimes conflicting, interpretations about its genre or what critical school of theory the work best fits. The Color Purple spans a number of literary styles and scholars and critics continue to debate its generic identity, variously describing the work as:

  • A modern slave narrative
  • An historical novel
  • A utopian novel
  • A folk tale
  • A romance
  • An epistolary novel.

Walker herself has described The Color Purple simply as a ‘book about God’.

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