The Color Purple Analysis

Decent Essays
While the film is not an exact replica of the novel, Mel Watkins, a book editor and writer, also criticizes the choices of Alice Walker and other writers similar to her in his 1986 article “Sex, Racism, and Black Women Writers”. Because Watkins wrote the article a mere four years after The Color Purple’s release, Watkins’ belief that “black women writers who have chosen black men as a target have set themselves outside a tradition that is nearly as old as black American literature itself” is a direct window into the mindset of the people reading Alice Walker’s novel at the time. In this way, Watkins defines Alice Walker as an author who is more controversial and therefore less likely to be accepted. Watkins goes on to write that “in almost every instance throughout the history of black American literature there has been agreement on the basic underlying desire to present positive images of blacks”. With Celie’s blatant abuse and rape from “Mr. ______”, a black man, The Color Purple was rapidly criticized and rejected at the time of its release. However, Harper Lee’s character Tom Robinson follows the “tradition” Watkins describes in his article. Not only does Tom Robinson’s trial mimic that of the Scottsboro trial, but it portrays him as a purely innocent man. Tom Robinson is the victim, which is a label that is especially enforced when he states that he is “scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do” (Lee 225). The difference between the men in Harper Lee’s novel
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