The question that I will be addressing in this paper: Why is this a feminist novel? At first I wasn’t really sure The color purple was a feminist novel, the book almost came across more as a misandrist’s novel. The author constantly demonizes men, generally every single time a male makes a cameo he is presented in an unflattering manner. Here are just a few examples from the literature:
He beat me for dressing trampy but he do it to me anyways. I spend my wedding day running from the oldest boy. He pick up a rock and laid my head open. Women work I’m a man. Harpo ast his daddy why he beat me. Mr. say cause she my wife. Plus, she stubborn. All women good for- he don’t finish. p.7-21 [As Ceclie is being shown off to Mr. one of her little brothers comes up to here.] He asks what you doing that for? Pa say, Your sister thinking bout marriage. Didn’t mean nothing to him. He pull my dresstail and ast can he have some blackberry jam out the safe.p11 Man corrupt everything. 197
It’s disturbing that even Ceclie’s younger brother was portrayed as being a self-absorbed male who completely ignored what was happening with his sister and cared only ab...
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... own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I 'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.”p40
At the beginning of The Color Purple Celie is a young child. While younger Celie is compliant and does not stick up for herself despite others attempts to persuade her to do otherwise. “But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.p17 However as the story progresses and due to the coaching of her companions Shug and Sofia Celie grows into being comfortable with standing up for herself and thus finds her own voice and the courage not to be dominated.
The color purple addresses problematic issues involving women and sublimely echoes throughout the tale that women need to stand up for themselves and oppose being repressed by the opposite sex. For these reasons the Color purple is considered a feminist novel.
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