What Is Feminism In The Color Purple

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3.3. Feminism

There are many instances in the novel in which feminist ideology is visible. Traumatized by her childhood experiences, Celie seeks acceptance and fulfilment in relationships built with women. As has been mentioned in the first chapter, Alice Walker states that women may love other women “sexually and/or nonsexually” (1983). This passage becomes one of the main statements defining the term womanism discussed previously in the thesis. Walker supports and develops this term with the representation of the relation between Celie and Shug. Celie’s growth as a woman is visible in her relation with Shug Avery who teaches her how to enjoy life and to accept herself wholly. Some researchers support this argument by stating “Walker always emphasizes the importance of sisterhood in black women`s emancipation” (Singh & Guphta, 2010: 218). Shug introduces Celie to same-sex relationships and masturbation. At this point, the protagonist begins to address her letters to her sister Nettie rather than to God in order to tell her about her experiences.
Shug Avery appears in Celie’s life at a moment in which she is confined within marriage with Albert. Touched by her unhappiness, Shug promises her that she will not abandon her until she will be sure that she feels protected. During one of their meetings,
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Guiding her spiritually, she helps Celie to redefine her womanhood and show her how women should “defend themselves with words; they discover their potential – sound themselves out through articulation” (Cheung, 1988: 162). In the course of time, one can notice Celie`s growth in self-awareness and self-realization. Her confidence helps her to rebel against the patriarchal system. Observing her development and growth into womanhood, Shug says to her “you making your living Celie ... Girl, you on your own way” (The Color Purple: 2004:
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