Color Purple Gender Roles

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Throughout the novel, sexual assault of female characters happen quite often, specifically toward Celie as well as Mary Agnes, who can also be known by her nickname Squeak. Celie is raped by the two men in her life, Alphonso and Mr._____. Alphanso has raped her many of times, and has said to her: “You better not tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy” (Walker 1) or “You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t” (Walker 1). Her rapist, Alphonso, slut shames her and then forces her into a silence, only retelling her rapes in her letters to God at this point in time. Later, the protagonist is forced to relive these horrible scenes when she moves in with Mr. _____. During the book when Shug Avery asks Celie about her and Mr. _____ sexual relationship,…show more content…
For example, characters like Alphanso or Mr. _____ tend to follow the stereotypical male gender roles of being dominant, not doing house work and they are expected to beat their wives. Celie followed the gender roles of being submissive, taking care of children and doing all of the house work. However, it could be argued however that she never knew any different so she never thought to question it. With that being said, there are some characters in the book who reject the traditional gender roles and tend to take on what is normally expected of the other gender. For instance, Sofia is considered to be a strong and outspoken women, which today is normal, however at the time of which The Color Purple is set it was quite rare for a women to be considered stronger or more powerful than their male counterparts. She is strong both physically and emotionally which allows her to push back whenever someone tries to make her submit to them, especially if it is by a man. She had to grow up a fighter since she was surrounded by men who abused her throughout her life. Things hit the breaking point for Sofia when the man she was in love with, Harpo, started to try and hurt her. She once said “I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I kill him dead before I let him beat me” (Walker 40). She is the dominant and powerful in her relationship with Harpo. He is emotionally weak and tends to be more kind than Sofia and has been compared to a woman on more than one occasion, all because he shows compassion and works hard. Feminism has taken strides towards breaking society’s gender norms to try and stop the ingraining of gender roles in the minds of children or to encourage those who wish to follow an ambition no matter if it is commonly a male or female job. Walker uses her characterization and plot development to show her concerns about gender roles and

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