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Analysis Of Jane Kuenz's The Color Purple

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‘The Bluest Eye’, as the critic Jane Kuenz argues, certainly shows the power of the media and culture "in the seemingly endless reproduction of images of feminine beauty in everyday objects and consumer goods". Pecola falls victim to the media’s portrayal of physical beauty, which in turn it leads to her receiving “the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought”, there are hints of Morrison’s political past in this as she was indeed a key activist in Black feminist movements who, unlike many other Western variations of feminism at the time, aimed to liberate and dislodge white structures of beauty. Pauline is indoctrinated into the detrimental ideology of directly associating whiteness with beauty and blackness with ugliness. Morrison…show more content…
This aspect of racial conflict is not explored in ‘The Color Purple’ in as much detail however it is a prominent aspect of the manner in which racism was internalised particularly into the minds of black women. The racist beauty ideals that existed in the American society lead to both Pecola and Pauline developing a sense of shame and self-hatred due to them physically not being able to attain those ideals. Pecola, in particular, is damaged by these ideals as they are ‘consumed by her own destructive self-hatred, resulting in irreversible psychological damage’. Racial conflict in ‘The Color Purple’ is also presented through the oppressive act of the imperialistic British attitudes and action towards the Olinka tribe. French and Dutch imperialism is cited in the novel, however because Samuel and Corinne’s missionary services are executed through London, the British Empire therefore has the most direct impact. Through the epistolary form of the novel,…show more content…
Black men, not white slave owners, are the oppressors and black women are brutalised, mistreated and effectively condemned to domestic and sexual slavery, Walker manipulates the slave narrative genre in a similar fashion in emphasising that young, African-American females were at the bottom of the social hierarchy however through the alternating perspective alternatively do not dehumanise the oppressors. According to critic Calvin Hernton, who describes ‘The Color Purple’ as a ‘womanist slave narrative’, Alice Walker not only reclaims the genre and redefines its focus, but does so from a specific ‘womanist’ viewpoint. Hernton commends this but also criticises the epistolary form that Walker has used. He argues that the letters of both sisters are not in keeping with the style of an authentic slave narrative and Nettie’s voice in particular is too stylised and middle-class to be considered as ‘womanist’. Toni Morrison’s novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ does not engage directly with slavery but rather explores the lingering effects by exploring and commenting on black self-hatred. Nearly all of the main characters in ‘The Bluest Eye’ who are African American are consumed with the constant culturally-imposed notions of white beauty, cleanliness, and sanitation to the point where they have
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