The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1342 Words6 Pages
Paradoxical to popular belief, traditional gender roles are not something one’s taught but rather something one learns. At a very young age, children are infused with the mindset that they must act a certain way. Likewise, in Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, the protagonist Celie, believes that she is obligated to do what men tell her to. She starts writing letters to God since she has nobody else to share her secrets with. Soon she meets a woman named Shug, who makes her realize that there is more to life than she really thinks. Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple demonstrates the progression of gender roles by emphasizing the importance of being able to express one’s thoughts and discovering oneself. Gender roles are defined as…show more content…
She’s going to have the female initiation ceremony too, she said” (Walker 239). Initially, this ceremony was not something Tashi wanted to do. But because of the way in which she lived, she chose to go along with it as a sign of respect for the Olinkan’s. Clearly, Harpo, Celie, and Tashi had been taught to act a certain way. They did not question it or go against it because they were influenced by parents, society, and tradition.
The ability to express one’s thoughts and feelings will allow one to realize that they have the freedom to do what they wish to do and not something that they are expected to. In other words, it is imperative to have self-esteem. “Self-esteem is related to how people behave in society, perform in school, react to peer-pressure, and interact with others” (“Self” 1). Unlike traditional gender roles, which are taught, self-esteem is something a person gradually learns with experience. It is one of the many factors that one should learn in order to create an environment that is ideal for them. Another facet is mutual understanding. In a relationship, by eliminating traditional gender roles and learning to value one another, the couple will appreciate each other and will not participate in acts of violence. “They represent what could be called a partnership between a man and woman. In these relationships, both the man and the woman share the same goals and work together to realize them” (“Themes”

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