The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1042 Words Jan 28th, 2018 4 Pages
What can she become? I asked. Why, she said, the mother of his children. But I am not the mother of anybody’s children, I said, and I am something”, clearly supporting the idea that self-actualization is independent from gender roles. It’s this sense of self-actualization and how it leads to empowerment that the minor characters in the color purple consistently conveyed throughout the novel. Minor characters aren’t minor at all; in fact, they play major roles in leading various areas in the thematic development, symbolism and adding dimension to the main characters.

Harpo struggles to fit into stereotypical gender roles established by society’s views and enforced by his father. At the beginning of the novel, Harpo tries to emulate his father's abusive tendencies in an attempt to make his wife obey his rules. When Harpo first introduced Sofia to his father and it was time for Sofia to leave, “Harpo stands up to leave too but she says Naw, Harpo, you stay here. He sort of hang there between them a while then he sit down again (Walker, 31). It’s this hesitance that speaks volumes about Harpo’s internal conflict. This is the first quote that introduces and indicates his uncertainty and confusion about his role(s) as a stereotypical man during the time of segregation-not only among whites and African Americans but also among males and females.…

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