Violence and the Economic Treatment of Women Then and Now

1604 Words7 Pages
Although none of the novels were wrote in conjunction, each has a link towards the other regarding abuse, both sexual and spousal, as well as class oppression and the manual labor that was a necessity for survival among black women. By examining present society, one can observe the systems of oppressions that have changed for the better as well as those that continue to devastate the lives of many women today. Not Without Laughter, written by Hughes, was the only novel out of the three that had little or nothing to discuss of the rape or incest that is accepted of men at the time. Perhaps this was because it was from the viewpoint of a young boy, rather than a young girl, and it was therefore not a part of his daily life. Both The Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God had examples of how often rape and incest occur in black women's lives. Celie, at a very young age, experienced first hand the pain of sexual abuse. Remaining a secret to her until near the end of the novel, Celie believes it is her biological father, rather than her stepfather who is raping her. This abuse is the first point made in the book and is the foundation for all of the pain and distrust that Celie feels as a young woman. She explains it only with the assertion of her stepfather, "You gonna do what your mammy wouldn't" (3). Celie soon realizes that she must protect her younger sister from the sexual advances of their father because she sees "him looking at my little sister" (5). Another incident of rape occurs in The Color Purple when Squeak goes to see the jail warden, trying to convince him to put Sofia in the Mayor's house as the maid rather than keep her in jail. When she comes back, she says that he "say if he was my uncle he w... ... middle of paper ... ...olores. Redesigning The American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1984. Helmbold, Lois Rita. "Feminists Pretend to Deal with Class." National Women's Studies Association, Atlanta. Sept. 1987. Hooks, Bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. New York: South End Press, 1984. Hughes, Langston. Not Without Laughter. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1937. Johnson, Sonia. Telling the Truth. New York: The Crossing Press, 1987. McIntosh, Peggy. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies." Virginia Women's Studies Association, Richmond, April 1986. Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982.

More about Violence and the Economic Treatment of Women Then and Now

Open Document