If fourteen-year-old Celie, from The Color Purple, were one of my bilingual students, I would know a good deal of information relevant to me as a teacher. I would know that Celie is poor from the condition of her clothes, I would know that Celie needs to learn to speak proper English from her improper use of English, and I would know that Celie loves to write. CelieÆs reluctance to look others in the eye and her habit of keeping her head down when she speaks in addition to her low self-esteem might help me know she has been the victim of child abuse.
Celie would be able to teach me a number of lessons of what poor, motherless, children often experience in their home environment that impacts their academic performance. She is the victim of verbal, physical and sexual abuse by the man she believes to be her father, ôHe never say a kine word to me. Just say you gonna do what your mammy wouldnÆtàhe push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to itö (Walker 3).
Despite her abuse, Celie would teach me that African American women are quite capable of enduring horrific abuse and still maintaining their love of self and for others. Despite her abusive environment, Celie loves to write letters to her sister and cares deeply for those around her. She also has learned to persevere and fight back against those who abuse her. As Kate tells her before departing, ôYou got to fight them, Celie, she say. I canÆt do it for you. You got to fight them for yourselfö (Walker 21).
As one of my students, I would also be able to help teach Celie a number of significant lessons. She is pregnant, ôAnd now I feels sick every time I be the one to cookö (Walker 3). I could help her get counseling and medical attention for her pregnancy and inform local authorities that she is the victim of rape. I could help her with her English skills, using the lett