Womanism In Alice Walker's The Color Purple

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Monika Pareek Professor Dasgupta Women's Writing 7th April 2016. Exploring the idea of 'womanism' in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker (b. 1944) is a novel of celebration of black women who challenge the unjust authorities and emerge beyond the yoke of forced identities. It is situated in Georgia, America, in 1909 and written entirely in the epistolary form, mainly by Celie, the main protagonist and her sister, Nettie. Walker exposes the patriarchy that condones male domination of women. The novel is about the trials and tribulations faced by a black woman under colonialism and black male oppression and her journey to attain knowledge, identity and freedom. Walker’s womanism stems from her mixed ancestry-…show more content…
The letters gave her the knowledge of the existence of other ways of being and led to the process of liberation and identity formation. By doing so, Alice Walker re-writes the archetypical rape narrative of Philomela through an alternative language methodology of swing and patchwork. She gives a strong voice to Philomela through Celie’s metamorphosis – a transition from being a silent victim of patriarchal designs to becoming a powerful narratorial presence. Celie is the author and subject of her own story. Alice Walker also offers a crucial intertwining of private and public in The Color Purple. The political language, with its affiliation with historical values and patriarchal power, as opposed to the utopia created by everyday life relations among the women, forms the central thread of the novel. The novel problematizes the Afro-American national historical identity through Celie’s reduction of American’s tale of Columbus and his boat, Neater, to cucumber and other garden variety phonetics. The episode highlights the important role oral and folk transmissions play in the reproduction of nation and…show more content…
It aims at building up a new ground for expressing female voice. The text is in complete conversational format rather than being a narration of events. Through her letters, Celie tells her audience something that they already know. She primarily subverts, deconstructs and eventually reconstructs the mainstream patriarchal discourse that has kept her and many of her kind at the periphery. The letters create a productive space where the hitherto oppressed voices are finally heard. There are elements of realism intricately woven within the fabric of the novel. Its depiction of sexuality is a positive portrayal of lesbian love, both sexual and non-sexual love. While Celie compares male sex organs to frogs, Sofia is tired of Harpo’s mechanical lovemaking. On the other hand, Celie’s act of lovemaking with Shug is devoid of any guilt and is liberating. Further, it is a powerful ‘womanist’ text showing productive and strong bonds between women characters and their work culture which together combat the elephantine patriarchal exploitation. The language and form
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