Women's Issues in Alice Walker's the Color Purple


This title offers an in-depth examination of colonialism as presented in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, as well as contemporary perspectives on this issue. Discussions include the use of language to convey status and power, the clash of Igbo and European cultures, the loss of personal identity, and the different faces of neo-colonialism.

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This title offers an in-depth examination of colonialism as presented in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, as well as contemporary perspectives on this issue. Discussions include the use of language to convey status and power, the clash of Igbo and European cultures, the loss of personal identity, and the different faces of neo-colonialism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737752700
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Series: Social Issues in Literature Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,010,004
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Chronology 12

Chapter 1 Background on Alice Walker

1 Walker's Childhood, Education, and Crusade for African American Women Barbara T. Christian 16

Walker was active in the civil rights movement and pioneered the study of the relationship between black men and women.

2 Alice Walker's Childhood Sense of Betrayal Evelyn C. White 24

Alice Walker's blinding in one eye and disfigurement when she was eight years old left her traumatized for life.

3 Feeling Like an Outsider Maria Lauret 31

Walker appreciated a sense of community in her childhood but has seen herself as an outsider, whether it is in her family or among her literary peers.

Chapter 2 The Color Purple and Women's Issues

1 From Being Dominated to Taking Charge Donna Haisty Winchell 39

The Color Purple paints a picture of a cruel, male-dominated society that leads Celie to lose her love for men and create a reversal in gender roles.

2 Being Deprived of a Mother's Bond Charles L. Proudfit 50

Celie's damaging relationship with her mentally ill mother sets her in search of other female bonds.

3 The Myth of the Rape and Silencing of Philomela Informs The Color Purple Martha J. Cutter 58

Like the mythical Philomela, Celie is raped and silenced, but her symbolic connections with blood and birds lead her, unlike Philomela, to creativity and freedom.

4 Walker Revises Traditional Gender Roles Mae G. Henderson 65

In a culture of male cruelty, women sacrifice for one another and replace traditional marriage with an extended family.

5 Trading Male Literary Traditions for Female Oral Ones Valerie Babb 74

The black woman's oral tradition (in which the novel is written) supersedes the white male's written one.

6 Walker's Relationship with the African American Male Philip M. Royster 81

The male audiences of Walker's novel and the film made from the novel were vocal and outraged at the picture she drew of black men as cruel and heartless.

7 Folk Art as a Means to Female Survival Keith E. Byerman 89

In The Color Purple women use folk wisdom to overcome their male oppressors. Folk art, including sewing and singing, makes it possible for them to survive, have their revenge, and tell about their pain.

8 Male Cruelty Leads to Positive Changes Henry O. Dixon 98

Male cruelty in The Color Purple leads to positive development in the lives of female characters.

9 Centering on Women but Ignoring Race and Economics bell hooks 108

The novel, while attacking the exploitation of females in an African American community, fails to challenge the whole system of racial and class exploitation.

10 The Color Purple Is a Disservice to Black Women Trudier Harris 113

In taking an independent view of the novel, one finds an unbelievably subservient, uncomplaining protagonist and white stereotypes of black men and women.

Chapter 3 Contemporary Perspectives on Women's Issues

1 Women Achieve Social Change Through Folk Art Anne Constable 125

Around the world, women find economic and social power through cooperation and the revival of traditional art in a misogynistic society.

2 Domestic Violence Retains Cultural Momentum Worldwide Sonya Weakley 130

One in three women is abused worldwide. Abuse of women is so ingrained in cultures that victims will rarely testify in court about the abuse.

3 Conflicting Feminist Ideologies Among Black Women Patricia Hill Collins 134

The black women who recognize and want to work for the betterment of their sisters are hampered by their conflicting ideologies.

4 A Black Celebrity Decides to Make Her Sexual Orientation Known Ari Karpel 141

After'Wanda Sykes told the public that she is a lesbian, she became a spokesperson for black and gay America.

For Further Discussion 151

For Further Reading 152

Bibliography 153

Index 158

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