The Color Purple By Alice Walker

2341 Words May 20th, 2016 10 Pages
When The Color Purple is viewed through the gender/feminist lens, the traditional ways society understands men and women is dramatically altered. Alice Walker defies gender norms with her emphasis on the fact that gender and sexuality are not always as simple as society typically thought. By creating characters that challenge gender stereotypes and break out of the norms of society, she creates a book that dissolves gender barriers. With her use of strong, unique characters, Alice is able to change the way people viewed women and men. Characters like Shug Avery and Harpo defy the gender roles expected of them, and influence those around them to change their roles in society as well. While there are characters that reflect gender norms, there are still an overwhelming amount of people who challenge the stereotypes. Society had set views on men and women, as men were seen as the dominant force over women, and women were seen as lesser beings who simply had children and then took care of the children. Men were expected to beat the women into submission, and women were expected to take the abuse silently. The idea that a woman could make her own choices was a preposterous thought in the patriarchal society during 1910-1940, when the book took place. Acts of independence like Celie leaving her husband, and Shug Avery’s vivacious ways disregarded the stereotypes and paved the way for a new generation of independent women. Harpo does display some traditional gender norms for a male…

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