The Color Purple, by Alice Walker Essay

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker is an epistolary novel criticized for its immoral and sensitive issues, such as incest, rape, and physical abuse. The story takes place in the early 1900's in the South, and symbolizes the unmerciful social, emotional, and economic hardships that African American women faced. The protagonist of the story is Celie, a woman who has been abused since her youth and documents her struggles through letters written to God and eventually to her sister Nettie, who is a missionary in Africa. Her sister’s experiences in Africa are a direct correlation to Celie’s life in America and emphasizes key themes in the novel, such as sexism, racism and power struggle, and the importance of women working together to overcome …show more content…
Albert raises Harpo to believe that women are like animals, something to be domesticated and tamed. He tells him, “Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let ‘em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do that better than a good sound beating” (Walker, 37). Harpo’s inferiority in comparison to Sofia is a result of his failure in gaining control over his wife by physical power, so he has no alternative measures to suppress his wife. Through Nettie’s letters the reader then becomes exposed to another independent female by the name of Tashi. When Adam disapproves Tashi’s idea of getting the tribal scarring done, she turns his back to him and gets it done without his consent. Tashi also like Sofia, highlights how men in the novel have a desire to be controlling over women and how as the world is changing, so are women. Neither Tashi nor Sofia do what is expected of women at that time, and rebel against male-oriented power. In Africa, “The Olinka do not believe girls should be educated. A girl is nothing to herself; only to her husband can she become something” (Walker, 155). The men of the Olinka village are afraid that if woman gain an education, there is the possibility they may diminish the misogynistic power structure in their tradition. Consequently, the women will no

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