Alice Walker's Meridian: The Exploitation of Idealism Essay

Alice Walker's Meridian: The Exploitation of Idealism Essay

Length: 1037 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In this historical and realistic novel, Meridian, written by Alice Walker, portraying the brutalities of life which most African Americans, especially women in the deep South, were forced to endure during the civil rights movement in the 1960s was a both a universal hardship and triumph for all of society. As the main character, Meridian Hill, repeatedly questions the value of her life through death and rebirth, she also seeks to discover the idealized woman, whom certain people repeatedly try to see inside of her while she repeatedly tries to bury that notion in the ground. Recurrently throughout this novel, Meridian tries to discover past memories of her inner self once again as time goes by. Through the uses of characterization, symbolism, and tone, Walker portrays how Meridian fights to exploit the ambivalence hidden underneath the idealistic world despite the exploitation, violence, and guilt plaguing both her internal and physical well-being.
While living the life of a young African American activist residing in the Deep South, Meridian presents herself as an extremely complex character that cannot be defined by one simple definition or characteristic due to her ambivalence regarding everything from segregation, religion, and past family matters. The reader can easily imagine that Meridian’s life, occupied with powerfully repetitive callousness due to the exploitation of her ethnicity and the attitudes and thoughts of others, as well as herself, due to stances she pursues and chances she bravely takes, is extraordinarily challenging. As Walker’s portrayal of Meridian illustrates the exposed yet blurred reality that occurred in the 1960s, she also portrays other character’s attitudes toward her; “‘God!’ said Truman w...

... middle of paper ...

..., we’ve been a part of it, everybody’s been a part of it for a long time.’ ‘I know and you would just fly away, if you could.’” (pg 49).
The main characters described throughout Meridian are each contributing factors to the social overtones; and this helps the reader to fully understand the talent of Walker and her approach to social matters regarding the exploitation of violence in the races and the backbreaking guilt Meridian carried day to day. Nearing the end of the novel, the realization of strength versus weakness, and the effects that humanity has on each other induce Meridian to overcome her problematic, physical barrier and reach acceptance of herself as well as others around her; “All the people who are as alone as I am will one day gather at the river. We will watch the evening sun go down. And in the darkness maybe we will know the truth” (pg 242).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Meridian, by Alice Walker

- The women of the late sixties, although some are older than others, in Alice Walker’s fiction that exhibit the qualities of the developing, emergent model are greatly influenced through the era of the Civil Rights Movement. Motherhood is a major theme in modern women’s literature, which examines as a sacred, powerful, and spiritual component of the woman’s life. Alice Walker does not choose Southern black women to be her major protagonists only because she is one, but because she had discovered in the tradition and history they collectively experience an understanding of oppression that has been drawn from them a willingness to reject the principle and to hold what is difficult....   [tags: Motherhood, Traditions]

Strong Essays
864 words (2.5 pages)

Depravity and Destruction in Blood Meridian Essay

- Depravity and Destruction in Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian is a passionate, lyrical, and ugly novel of depravity and destruction of life in the Old West. It is a story of a hellish journey where violence and corruption are currency in a life of murder and treachery. Contrasting scenes of scenic beauty, poetically described by McCarthy, are negated by his gruesome accounts of despicable scenes of human cruelty in the examination of evil. Like all of McCarthy's earlier novels, Blood Meridian (1985) had a lukewarm arrival to the literary world in the sense of sales and publicity, in part due to McCarthy's own aversion to self-promotion (Woodward 28)....   [tags: Blood Meridian Essays]

Strong Essays
793 words (2.3 pages)

Judge Holden of Blood Meridian Essay

- Judge Holden of Blood Meridian Although Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian tells the story of the kid and his journey through the harshest of environments, much of the action in the novel centers around Judge Holden. Judge Holden is a mystery from his very first appearance in the novel and remains so until the very end of the novel, when he is one of the few characters surviving. The kid first comes face to face with Holden in a saloon after a riot and eventually joins with Holden and a gang of misfit scalp-hunters to roam the Mexican-American borderlands....   [tags: Blood Meridian Essays]

Free Essays
679 words (1.9 pages)

The Setting of Blood Meridian Essay

- Cormac McCarthy's setting in Blood Meridian is a landscape of endless and diverse beauty. McCarthy highlights the surprising beauty of combinations of scrubby plants, jagged rock, and the fused auburn and crimson colors of the fiery wasteland that frame this nightmarish novel. Various descriptions, from the desolate to the scenic, feature McCarthy's highly wrought, lyrical prose. Such descriptions of the divine landscape seem to serve a dual function. While being an isolated highlight to this gruesome novel, McCarthy's beautiful setting also serves as an intricate device in defining the novel's themes and creating the reality in which it is set....   [tags: Blood Meridian Essays]

Strong Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

Journey through Hell in Blood Meridian Essay

- Journey through Hell in Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian details what can only be described as the kid's journey through hell. Throughout the novel McCarthy gives the reader the sensation of being in hell. The is brutal and unforgiving physical setting adds a hellish atmosphere in which there is no evidence of any morals or sympathy for the innocent. Judge Holden is even described in terms reminiscent of the devil. All of these factors lead the reader to compare the kid's journey through the Mexican-American border country with a descent into hell....   [tags: Blood Meridian Essays]

Strong Essays
715 words (2 pages)

Go Ask Alice Essay

- Long Hard Road of Adolescence Reading through the novel, Go Ask Alice, finding out all of the unbelievable, yet true, experiences and feelings of Alice is quite shocking. No matter how shocking they may seem, you can very easily relate those experiences and feelings to those of a typical day-in and day-out teenager. Those characteristics being loneliness, a generation gap, and defiance. At the beginning of the novel, Alice finds herself to be very lonely. As like other teenagers, she goes through many emotional states that may lead to “dieting”, starving oneself, or binge eating....   [tags: alice]

Free Essays
428 words (1.2 pages)

Essay about Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

- Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Alice Walker is making a statement about the popularization of black culture in "Everyday Use". The story involves characters from both sides of the African American cultural spectrum, conveniently cast as sisters in the story. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black," with her natural hairdo and brightly colored clothing. Maggie remains traditional: the unchanged, unaffected bystander. Nowhere in the dialogue do Walker's characters directly mention their feelings about the Americanization of African tradition....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use]

Strong Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Pragmatism Vs. Idealism (a Man Essay

- Morality is often overpowered by materialistic pursuits. In “A Man for All Seasons”,Robert Bolt shows the corruption of those who put self interest above all other values. His use of such characters as Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Chapuys and Wolsey help convey this corruption. There is yet another character who is a pragmatist that Bolt successfully represents. Thomas More is an idealist as well as a pragmatist, for he is prepared to give up everything for his beliefs and takes all precautions possible to make his case “watertight”....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
2267 words (6.5 pages)

Blood Meridian Essay

- In Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy describes a lawless and godless group of men ordained to cleanse the West of lesser people. This group wanders through the West leaving a trail of slaughtered people in their trail. The emptiness and ruthlessness of their hearts is reflected in the harsh and unforgiving landscape. McCarthy uses reoccurring themes of war, religion, and dance to paint a graphic picture of the savageness of life in the West. As men ordained on a mission, Glanton's Gang is paid to seek out the scalps of Apaches and return them to the Mexican town of Chihuahua City....   [tags: Cormac McCarthy]

Free Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Exploitation Essay

- Exploitation in the world today is a major problem with there being a few different types of exploitation. Trafficking, sweatshop working, and slavery are the three major types of exploitation. Money is the biggest reason why there is exploitation in the world today. The only way for exploitation in the world today to end is for poverty and greed to end. I will further more talk about all of these topics to show just how bad exploitation is and how there aren't many ways for it to be stopped. Trafficking and sweatshop working are the most common forms of exploitation in the United States today....   [tags: Sociology]

Free Essays
449 words (1.3 pages)