Examples Of Dialogism In The Color Purple

Decent Essays

Bakhtin describes dialogism as the ‘multiplicity of perspectives and voices’. It can also be understood as something that is ‘double-voiced’ or ‘multi-voiced’. In a dialogic piece, each character has their own final word, but on some level, it interacts with and relates to the voices of the other characters. ‘Dialogue’ does not progress logically or analytically, rather it does so in an interactive fashion. This makes dialogical works a lot more ‘objective’ and ‘realistic’ in nature.
Bakhtin’s discussion of dialogism is both linguistic and novelistic. He uses it to “refer to particular instances of language, perceptible in novels and popular speech; and also refers to a defining quality of language itself, and its most fundamental sense-making …show more content…

The novel, as stated before, is epistolary in nature. Overall, there are two narrators in the entire novel. The first is Celie who writes letters to both her sister Nettie and to God. The second narrator is Nettie, who writes back to Celie. Both of them tell the reader about the things that have happened to the characters and to them through their letters. As both the narrators are also characters in the novel, the combination of the authorial voice, the first person narrator, other characters and the reader makes up for a multi-voice discourse. All these voices have a constant interaction, a tug-of-war to make sure that what they are saying is heard. For example, Celie is a narrator and a character and her voice is entirely in the first person. It can be argued that Alice Walker has mixed some of her own words (the authorial voice) with that of Celie, creating a blended narration where it is not really sure where the author ends and the character begins, lending to the creation of a voice which is vivid and striking, and most of all, wrenchingly honest. The usage of the first person form throughout the novel provides the reader with a sense of participation, of belonging. They are not just mere observers any more. Instead their interpretations become part of the novel. It is even possible to say that the author anticipates reader response and questions and works accordingly. For example, taking the following paragraph from the novel, it is possible to see the multi-voiced

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