The Color Purple By Alice Walker Essay

The Color Purple By Alice Walker Essay

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As we are all imperfect humans, we thrive and face a sense of self determination by the expectations of those around us, whether distinguished by close family or society, expectations molding us to conform to the roles that have been set forth for us to play. However, the view that society has on these roles that each gender is supposed to play is not always what society should expect from individuals. Throughout the book The Color Purple by Alice Walker, several characters do not follow these stereotypical roles that their genders are assigned; because of this, they break through the stereotypical walls that have traditionally been directed at their genders. Therefore, the attitudes and personalities that genders are labeled with are often meaningless and worthless because one rarely fits within the limitations of those roles assigned to their genders. Through the quietness of Harpo and the assertiveness, dominance and strength shown by Shug Avery and Sofia, one can see that these characters are not affected by the limitations of society.
Throughout The Color Purple Harpo defies what society deems to be the proper way a man should act. Instead, being a very effeminate character, especially in the beginning of his relationship with Sofia, he defies the characteristics of a traditional masculine framework. Harpo takes his baby from Sofia and “He take the baby, give it a kiss, chuck it under the chin. Grin, look up on the porch at his daddy” (34, Walker) and acts almost motherly towards the child. Consequently, because of this nature Harpo is able to do more than what would have been possible, if he conformed to society’s expectations, such as having a positive relationship with his children. This is not something that would have be...


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...ne’s personality, they also constrain most of society to adhere to rigid, non-individualized roles. Strong characters are those which find strength to veer off these pathways and profess that one is not restrained by the images of society; one is only restrained by their own limitations. Harpo, Sofia, and Shug Avery all demonstrate this non-conformist attitude throughout the novel by persisting to break out of traditional and defined gender roles. Harpo with his tendencies to show a softer, nurturing side of his character, Sophia with her strong physical presence and Shug Avery with her unswaying desire to control her own life choices; all add to the depth of their characters allowing the author to explore avenues within this novel that intertwine these characters in multiple levels, breaking the traditional gender stereotypes that dictated relationships in the past.

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