The Role Of Women In The Color Purple

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Alice Walker wrote ‘The Color Purple’ in order to capture and highlight the hardship and bitterness African-American women experienced in the early 1900s. She demonstrates the emotional, physical and spiritual revolution of an abused black girl into an independent, strong woman. The novel largely focuses on the role of male domination and its resulting frustrations and black women’s struggle for independence. The protagonist, Celie’s, gain of an independent identity, away from her family, friends, work, and love life, forms the plot of the novel.
Girls from a young age are exposed to the idea that by looking right and dressing right, they can receive financial support, love and affection from men. Colette Dowling calls this the Cinderella Complex, a network of largely represented attitudes and fears that keeps women from full use of their minds and creativity. The Color Purple shows how this myth can be broken and reinforced in a manner that empowers women both economically and socially. This essay highlights how clothing in the novel, becomes a symbol of race, gender, strength of character and transformation of the self. (Lupton)
Clothing as an Expression of the Self
Clothing protects, decorates, describes and gives the first impression of a person. It acts as an external symbol of
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Celie starts making pants to avoid killing Mr.___- “A needle and not a razor in my hand.” she says. (Walker, 125) However, it helps nurture her talent into a countenance of her love for Nettie, Shug, Jack, Odessa and Squeak and shows her amazing choice to remain true to herself despite her life conditions. Thus, cloth transcends Western utilitarian biases to become a medium capable of creative and spiritual powers. Discovering the self becomes a way of discovering the creativity and presence of God in the self. “He is always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.” (Walker,
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