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“Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence” -Alice Walker (Lewis n.pag) Walker is considered to an African American novelist, short story writers poet, essayist, and activist. Most of her literature are mostly from her personal experiences and are morale to numbers of African American all over the world. Walker defines herself as a “womanist” which means “The prophetic voice concerned about the well-being of the entire African American community, male and female, adults and children. Womanist theology attempts to help black women see, affirm, and have confidence in the importance of their experience and faith for determining the character of the Christian religion in the African American community. Womanist theology challenges all oppressive forces impeding black women’s struggle for survival and for the development of a positive, productive quality of life conducive to women’s and the family’s freedom and well-being. Womanist theology opposes all oppression based on race, sex, class, sexual preference, physical ability, and caste” (Wikipedia n.pag) The works of Alice Walker had a great influence on the African Americans community.
Most of Walker's fiction work is suffuse by her Southern background. Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia which is considered to be a rural town where most black workers work as lessee farmer. She was the eighth and the last child of Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker and Willie Lee Walker. Her parents were poor sharecroppers. In the summer of 1952 at the age of eight, she fell into a depression when her older brother accidentally shot her with a BB gun, causing her to lost one sight of her eye. (LLC n.pag) She later started to hidden herself from the other kids in her neighborhood. She explained, "I no longer felt like the little girl I was. I felt old, and because I felt I was unpleasant to look at, filled with shame. I retreated into solitude, and read stories and began to write poems." (Alice Walker) However later in her high school senior year in 1961, Walker got a rehabilitation scholarship to Spelman, a college for black women in Atlanta. In here, she became involved in the civil rights movement and associated in sit-ins at local business establishments. In her junior year, she transferred to another college in Bronxville, New York called Sarah Lawrence College and graduate there in 1965. In 1967, Walker married a Jewish Civil rights attorney, Melvyn Leventhal where she was an activist and teacher in Mississippi.
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Walker could be considered as one of the leading voices and the most prolific black women writers in America. (Muellero Vol.1) Her writing mainly reflects her concerns on multidimensional sympathy with racial, sexual, and the take in power of social & political issues among African American women's struggle at her time. (Whitted n pag.) She justified that, “The black women is one of America’s greatest heroes Not enough credit has been given to the black women who has oppressed beyond recognition.” (Gerding Period.5) Walker throw back and reflects her opinion on her third novel that is widely known called The Color Purple. The novel traces the life of Celie, a poor Southern black woman who is physically and mentally abused by her step-father and husband. (Muellero Vol.1) In the youth age, Celie often got raped by her step-father causing to have two children, but the step-father sell the children away and her failed marriage husband, Albert who beats and torture her continuously. As the plot goes on, Celie meet Albert's mistress, Shug. Shug helps Celie bring up all her courage to leave her marriage behind. At the end, Celie reunite with her children along with her long lost sister, Nettie. (Random “Summary of the color purple”) After the novel was published, Walker got both admiration and criticism about her work. Those who praise her like, Peter S. Prescott said, “The Color Purple" is an American novel of permanent importance, that rare sort of book which amounts to a diversion in the fields of dread.” (Random “Alice Walker Criticism”) Some people like, Wesley felt that the book had made a negative image to the black men. He stated, "As an African-American male, I found little that was offensive as far as the images of black men," (Random “Notes On Novel”) Walker's main perspective are mostly concerns about the black women and most of the theme covers about sexism and racism.
Another interesting point that Walker have wrote in most of her work is about the control of men over the powerless women. The first novel that Alice Walker had written in 1970 is called The Third life of Grange Copeland. The story took place during the year of Depression and the starting of civil rights movement during the beginning of 1960s. Walker reflects her life into the novel and she showed the effects of racism and poverty living as a black sharecropping family. Grange Copeland, the main character in the story, was a bad example to his son, Brownsfield. Brownsfield saw the suicide and abandons of his mother's life from the influential of his father causing Browsfield to murders his wife. While people accused Walker that she's a stereotypes about the black family, some people praised her for using a descriptive language of creating a believable characters. (Random “Alice Walker unbanned novdels”)
Walker have also succeed in being a poet. The first volume of poetry, “Once” (1968) include works that was been written during her senior year in, Sarah Lawrence College. (Whitted n pag.) She was not afraid to discuss about abortion, rape, suicide, and the issues of the African American. (Harris n.pag) Some of the pieces are related to Walker experienced. In “Once”, it talks about an unwanted pregnancy during Walker's senior year. It was not only the most sorrowful and stressful time for her, but also making the biggest decision which lead her to abortion. The second volume was the Revolutionary Petunias. She addressed the poem such topics like revolution, love, individualism. (Whitted n pag.) Being an activist and a teacher during the civil right movement had made a great impact on her work. Her most recent poems are mostly about love, hate, and suffering. In addition, her two volume of short stories, In Love and Trouble: Story of Black Women (1973) and You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories (1981), both shows the evidence of Walker's kindhearted to the black African American and also evidence of calling herself a “womanist.”