Celie's Pain in The Color Purple Molestation is a topic that is painful to think about, and even more difficult to write about. Yet Alice Walker chose this as the central theme of her novel The Color Purple. Walker's work centers around a poor African American girl Celie. Celie keeps a diary, and the first section of the novel is an excerpt from her diary. After reading the excerpt, the reader comes to realize that Celie is a fourteen-year-old girl who has been molested by her father.
White women are idealized as pure, angelic, and chaste while black woman are idealized as exotic and contained an uncontrollable, savage sexuality. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, brought the sexual oppression of captive black women into the public and political arena. Harriet Jacobs takes a great risk writing her trials as a house servant in the south and a fugitive in the north. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gives a true account of the brutality slavery held for women. A perspective that was relatively secretive during Jacobs’ time.
Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston are similar in the way they portray black women. Both are political, controversial, and talented experiencing negative and positive reviews in their own communities. These two influential African-American female authors describe the southern hospitality roots. Hurston was an influential writer of the Harlem Renaissance, who died from mysterious death in the sixties. Walker who is an activist and author in the early seventies confronts sexually progression in the south through the Great Depression period (Howard 200).
Walker demonstrates through her writings that the oppression of Black women is both internal and external. Like most of the characters in her novels, Walker is a product of her racist, rural, Southern environment in which the rural Black woman faces oppression at every turn. Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1944 at the beginning of the Civil Rights Era (Whitted). Walker faced segregation and discrimination while growing up in one of the most notoriously racist Southern states of the 19th and 20th centuries. She ... ... middle of paper ... ...27 Aug. 2013.
Celie's Struggle for Freedom in The Color Purple Events in history have influenced writers’ style, genre, and emphasis in their stories. 1 Alice Walker was greatly influenced by the time period of the 1940’s. There was much racism and oppression during that time, especially for black women. Women were beaten and abused simply because of their color and gender. Celie, a young black woman, endured many hardships reflective of the time period including racism, oppression, and sexism but remained strong in her faith in God and overcame these obstacles to show the quiet strength of a woman.
Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple in epistolary style and it traces Celie’s journey of finding her identity and path of finally accepting herself. On her journey she encounters a couple of women including one named Shug Avery, who helps turn Celie’s life around. Throughout The Color Purple, Alice Walker uses the epistolary structure to demonstrate self-acceptance in women. Celie, the main character in The Color Purple has trouble figuring out who she is, and accepting herself because of the terrible life she had and still has while growing up. Her struggles begin when her stepfather says, "better not never tell nobody but god", after raping her (Walker 1).
The Results of Celie’s Physical and Mental Abuse In 1982 Alice Walker titled her Pulitzer Prize Winning novel, The Color Purple, which is symbolically meant to reflect radiance and majesty (Columbia). It is a story, entirely conveyed through letters, of one young black girl’s struggle to escape the brutal and degrading treatment by men, which had become a constant part of her life. Instead of focusing on race throughout the novel Walker accords “greater importance to power, the power to be, to concretize one’s self, as to mold others” (Dieke 102). This completely unbalanced power ultimately leaves Celie feeling alone and controlled, which affects her relationships with men and influences her relationship with women, mainly Shug Avery. The horrifying effects of rape and what Celie thought was incest so greatly scarred her for the rest of her life that she lost the ability to love, became confused about her sexuality, and subconsciously denied her right to an identity.
She really emphasizes how tough times were for Celie through living in the racist south, having men that beat her and abused her, and how the power of female relationships especially family saved her from the terrible life she lived. Works Cited Sova, Dawn B. "The Color Purple." Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds, Revised Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s consideration of gender roles throughout The Great Gatsby reflect the sheer unbalance between the value of men and women in traditional households. Throughout the novel women are seen living a life controlled by men, and accepting their loss of independence for the materialistic values of life. Women follow the social code of the 1920’s to seem ladylike, leading them to succumb to uniform and object like personas. Scenes of blatant sexism are the strongest representation of the gender gap and the loss of morals throughout the 1920’s. “I’m glad it’s a girl.
Many works of literature expose gender roles throughout history. The expectations, pressures, and reality of the way society perceives how women “should” be. The crooked expectations have drastically effected the self-esteem and confidence of women. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Jonot Diaz, recounts the life of a Dominican family whose values showed that more was expected of women than men. Similarly, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, revealed the story of a women’s mental breakdown and her husband’s eventual diagnosis that kept her in chains.