Alice Walker and Epistolary Writing Essay

Alice Walker and Epistolary Writing Essay

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When an author writes a novel, a narrative method must be chosen which will effectively and uniquely convey the plot and characters to the readers. Epistolary novels are written as a collection of documents which are usually in the form of letters. This method of using letters to present the plot adds realism to stories by mimicking real-life letters and allowing the voice of a specific narrator to be experienced more intimately. This method of storytelling is most exceptionally presented in The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker, as the novel is made up of letters written by Celie, the protagonist and her experiences in an era when women had little power. In fact, her ability to write these letters allows the reader to recognize both her attempts at gaining power and her desperate struggle against her male-dominated society. This novel focuses on the oppression of African-American women, specifically by males, during the twentieth-Century in America (Christian 2). Walker writes this novel in an epistolary form so that it allows her protagonist to establish her own life as an individual while also telling the story that Walker so intricately wants to weave. Walker’s excellent use of these letters reveals Celie’s struggles to gain self-esteem, independence and to remove herself from the isolation she so desperately experiences. Walker’s intricate use of the letters allows the reader to connect to Celie on a far more personal and intense level than a regular form of narration would permit.
Throughout the novel, Celie’s letters reveal her insecurity and fear in real life, but also display that, unlike in face-to face situations, she is not afraid to show her confidence and attitude on paper. At the beginning of the novel, Celie starts...


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... and allowing her to express her emotions, both positive and negative, in real life situations.



















Work Cited

Christian, Barbara T. "Alice (Malsenior) Walker." Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955. Ed. Thadious M. Davis and Trudier Harris-Lopez. Detroit: Gale Research, 1984. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 33. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 7 Aug. 2011.

Wall, Wendy. "Lettered Bodies and Corporeal Texts in The Color Purple." Studies in American Fiction 16.1 (Spring 1988): 83-97. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.

Warhol, Robyn R. "How Narration Produces Gender: Femininity as Affect and Effect in Alice Walker's The Color Purple." Narrative 9.2 (2001): 182. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 2 Aug. 2011.

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