The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Paradoxical to popular belief, traditional gender roles are not something one’s taught but rather something one learns. At a very young age, children are infused with the mindset that they must act a certain way. Likewise, in Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, the protagonist Celie, believes that she is obligated to do what men tell her to. She starts writing letters to God since she has nobody else to share her secrets with. Soon she meets a woman named Shug, who makes her realize that there is more to life than she really thinks. Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple demonstrates the progression of gender roles by emphasizing the importance of being able to express one’s thoughts and discovering oneself.
Gender roles are defined as a set of behaviors and or attitudes that is expected from a male and female. These behaviors are instilled in human beings at a very young age by parents and society. Parents are children’s first teachers and their greatest idol. “The first and one of the strongest influences on a person’s perceived gender role is his or her parents” (“Gender” 1). Parents not only teach children rudimentary skills such as talking and walking, but also attitude and behavior. Parents can serve as either a positive or a negative role model. Studies suggest that female children who are raised in abusive households will grow up to be abused by their spouse. This is because they never learned to stand up for themselves. Male children who grow up in abusive households will grow up to emulate their fathers and also abuse their spouse. “Sons of abusive husbands often grow up to abuse their own wives, and daughters of abused wives may grow up to become victims of domestic violence (“Gender” 2). This cycle continues thro...

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...eate a barrier that stops one from doing what they want. Hence, it is significant that one learns to love themselves.
Conclusively, parents, society, and culture influences one to act a certain way. But if one lives their whole life being taught how to live, they will never triumph. A person’s role in their gender is something they must learn on their own, by having self-esteem, a mutual understanding in their relationship, and loving themselves. In Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple, many characters demonstrate the evolution of gender roles and by eliminating it, they learn to live a happy life.

Works Cited

"Gender Roles." World of Health. Gale, 2007. Student Resources in Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

"Self-Esteem." World of Health. Gale, 2007. Student Resources in Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. Orlando: A Harvest Book, 1982.

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