Oppression, Sexism, And Dominance Research Paper Samples
Oppression and sexism against women was one of the greatest vices in United States in the past. Women especially the African American women faced a lot of oppression and sexism as well as racism from their counter-parts white women in the 20th century when feminism comes on board. These women therefore faced a lot of challenges in addressing their situation. When they had come out in large numbers to join feminists’ movements, they were discriminated against and their problems continued. As much as the vice was seriously fought and reduced by great percentage, it still exists in some places and parts of the world. The book the Color Purple written by Alice Walker, extensively explains such oppression and sexism that the African America women underwent. This paper therefore reviews the book in relation to oppression, sexism and racism. It analyses the importance of the book by the time it was written as well as its importance today.
Alice Walker, born on 1944 to Minnie Tallulah and Willie Lee Walker, was influenced into writing by her parents experiences with racism and oppression in South America in addition while she was eight years old; her brother shot her accidentally permanently blinding one of her eyes. This prompted Walker to isolate herself and spent much of her time writing and reading to pass time. In 1961 she was enrolled into Spelman College situated in Atlanta under the disabled scholarship. It is at the college that she became more vibrant and active in civil rights movement of A-African-American. Two years later she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College where she got a chance to travel to Uganda under exchange program. Walker finally graduated in 1965 from Sarah Lawrence College. After her graduation she went on with her activism for civil rights and offered to work as a volunteer in Mississippi and Georgia drive for black voter registration. By 1970s walker had published two novels “To Hell with Dying” and “Meridian”
In 1982, walker the prolific writer published the most famous book, “The Color Purple.” The Novel Chronicles the difficulties underwent by several black women in Georgia in the 20th century. The book won awards for instance, the American Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Nevertheless the book did create a lot of controversies with the Male African American taking an issue with its setting. According to them the novel reaffirmed the old racist stereotypes in regards to pathology in African American communities. The critics of the book accused Walker with concentrating much on sexism and not addressing the racism aspect. The heated disputes that surrounded the book demonstrated the resounding effects Walker’s work had on racism and cultural discourse in the United States.
The Color Purple is an epistolary novel that captures what goes on in Rural Georgia. The novel was written in form of letters in which Walker was trying to show the power of communication that comes with them. The letters symbolizes the, voice that the characters only have. For example the letters that Celie wrote to God and Nettie her sister could only symbolize the voice that she only has. It concentrates on the life of African American women in South America as at 1930s (Alex, 6). The book tries to address various issues including the low passions depicted in American social culture.
The Plot Overview
Celie is portrayed has the narrator and the protagonist of ‘The Color Purple.’ She is uneducated, poor, fourteen-year-old African American lady living in the rural parts of Georgia. Celie faces gender violence from her own father, Alphonso who beats her up and rapes her. This prompt5s Celie to start writing letters to God. Unfortunately Celie is impregnated by her father and when she gave birth to a baby Girl. Alphonso stole the baby and killed her in the woods. Celie got the second child who suffered the same fate as the first one. All thi9s happened under the watch of her mother who gets ill and dies. Alphonso brings in a new wife but never left abusing Celie (Walker 6).
A man only known as Mister proposes to Marry Nattie, Celies’s younger sister. Instead Alphonso their father refuses and instead offers the gentleman Celie to marry. Mister accepts the offer and marries Celie. In fright of her father, Nattie flees to Celie's home for her safety but never stayed for long. Mister made advances on her, for he still admired her prompting Nattie to run away yet again. Celie assumed that her sister died after not hearing from her for quite some time.
Celie is again abused by her husband Mister. The sister to her husband, Kate out of pity tells Celie to often fight back against her husband other than submitting to her abuses. Harpo the son to Mister fall in love with Sofia who eventually got married to after she became pregnant. Sofia refused to submit to Harp and Mister. Attempts by Harp to beat her into submission always failed since Sofia was physically stronger than Harpo. This amazes Celie who had seen everything transpire (Walker, 21).
Shug, Mister’s lover falls ill causing Mister to take her into his house. Celie takes charge of nursing her in spite Shug having been rude to her. Later the two ladies become friends. Celie becomes infatuated with Shug and sexually attracted to her. On the hand, Sofia becomes fade up with Harpo’s mistreatment and flees away with her children. Harpo gets a new partner, Sqauek in replacement of Sofia. Shug decide to often stay back at home when she learns that Mister beats her up while she is away. Shugs later got married to Grady though she continues to share a bed with Celie (.Walker, 37)
Celie through the guidance of Shug realizes that Mister had been hiding the letters Nattie sent to her. Nattie had befriended a missionary couple Corrine and Samuel who had two adopted children. Nattie’s interrogation with Samuel on adoption of the two children revealed that the two children belonged to her sister Celie. In addition it is revealed that Alphonso was not their real father, rather their real father was lynched by white men who envied her success. Alphonso lied to them because he only was after inheriting the house (Walker, 87).
Sofia, who had been jailed by the Mayor for her insubordination and Servitude six months earlier, is realized. After long years of abuse, Celie gathers up her courage and releases her anger cursing Mister for that. Together with Shug and Squeak, Celie moved to Tennessee where she keeps herself busy through sewing pants. She eventually turned her hobby into a business. When Celie returned to Georgia, she finds out that Alphonso had died, and Mister had reformed his ways (Walker, 136).
Meanwhile, Nattie got married to Samuel and were preparing to return to America. Also Adam one of Samuels’s children had gotten married to an African girl Tashi, who did undergo painful rituals such as facial scarring and female circumcision. In solidarity with her wife, Adam also underwent the ritual of facial scarring (Walker, 176).
Finally, Mister and Celie reconciles and starts a fresh enjoying each other‘s company. Celie is now financially, emotionally and spiritually independent that she is no longer bothered when Shug passes flings with young men. Also, Sofia agrees to remarry Harpo, as well as work in Celie’s clothing store. Nattie eventually returns home with Samuel and the children. Celie and her sister were happily re-united though emotionally drained (Walker, 236).
Relevance of the Book
The Color Purple is relevant to the topic chosen because it captures the same theme. The Color Purple was written at the time that women were being mistreated. Gender violence in early 20th century was extreme in America especially among the African Americans. In addition other states for instance Africa and Islamic states still have oppression of the poor (Shelbourne, 12).Further this was the time feminists movements were gaining momentum hence fighting to find solution to such challenges that women faced in their homes and outside. In addition the same is still ongoing in the current society especially in Africa where there is still some traces of Female circumcision and some few untold violence in some families in the United States and the entire world. The book also provides the best solution to gender violence, oppression and sexism. Gender violence, oppression and sexism should be reduced beyond zero hence, the relevance of the book to the topic selected.
Importance of the Book when it was written
It has to be noted that during early twentieth century the society could simply be described as male dominated society. Women faced adverse challenges in the sense that they had specific roles that they were to oblige to for instance being housewives and submitting to their men. Women were considered as weaker beings compared to men and before them. In their homes men misused this perceptions mistreating their women and vil4ntly beating them up often. The problem did cut across the divide in the world; the same was experienced in Africa, Australia and China among many other countries. Women had become hopeless and couldn’t know how to help themselves anymore. Feminist’s movements cropped up and got prominence during this period, though they were marred with racism and discrimination of the African American women. The Color Purple book Novel was therefore significant in the following ways:
It brought to light the plight of the African American Women. Through the demonstration of the violence women went through in the hand of the people they loved and indebted to. The book through Celie, Nattie, and Sofia shows how women are beaten up and mistreated by the husbands and parents. Celie is raped and abused by her step father while Sofia is beaten up by her husband Harpo and Mister makes advancements for Nattie who runs away. In addition Sofia is thrown to jail for six months after rejecting the offer of the Mayor to work in his house as house maid (Bloom, 91). This was a true reflection of what happened to the women in America on daily basis precisely the African American Women.
The book stepped up the efforts that were being made by the feminists who were advocating for the unity among women in order to fight against discrimination and oppression. In her book Walker demonstrated the power that strong women relationship had. She portrays that this is the primary means through which women can gather courage to tell their stories and consequently resist any kind of oppression or dominance. The friendship between Shug an Celie gave Celie a hear to talk out what she had been experiencing and together they fought oppression by shug remaining behind to deter Mister from beating her up and also when she openly told Mister that they were leaving (Bloom, 125).
Further the book gave women undergoing oppression and dominance hope as well as courage. Through the book, these women got to understand that they are not the only ones. Further it showed them that at least there is someone out there that knows and understand their plight. This gave them courage to come out and share the stories. Celie, Sofia and Nattie had a happy ending in the book that demonstrated to women out there that their plight would soon come to an end. These ladies reconciled with their husbands and lived a happy live. It also showed that men can reform and be better persons to the women and their families (Deustch, 68).
Importance of the Book Today
As much as the fight against oppression and dominance of women began long time ago it has not been completely done with. There are some traces of violence against women among the families of the 21st century. In Africa for instance the Menace is still very rampant. In spite the efforts by the feminists the phenomena is yet to reduce. Female genital mutilation is also another ritual that had been fought since the twentieth century yet it is still being practiced by some cultures in African. The book is therefore still significant to date just the same way as it was by the time it was being written in addition it is important today in the following ways:
The book calls for women to stand up and fight for against oppression. In the book Walker demonstrate that the solution towards ending impression and dominance lie in the hands of the women themselves. The book encourages them to stop submitting and fight against those who oppress them. Kate told Calie to fight against her husband while Sofia fought her husband when he was trying to beat her up in order to dominate. When Calie went decided enough is enough and went away, Mister reformed and become a better person (Bloom, 101). This demonstrates to women of the twenty first century that it all begins with one bold step that a woman takes has an individual.
In addition the book brought to the light the tragic rituals that are still practices in some parts of Africa, for instance, female genital Circumcision. After the book indicated female circumcision that gives people knowledge that the vice still exists in some parts of the world hence should be fought against. This is one phenomenon that many governments are struggling very hard to eradicate; hence it needs audience for people to share one common ideology of bringing it to an end.
Women oppression and dominance was at its peak in the twentieth century but feminists among other well-wishers fought it very hard to ensure that it was eradicated. The Color People was written by Walker to demonstrate this oppression as well as sensor women to gather courage and fight against it. Indeed to have a healthy society oppression, sexism and any kind of discrimination or dominance should be eradicated. This is exactly what the book has shown to advocate for. The importance of The Color People in the twentieth century when it was written is the same until today the only distinction is the environment. At the time it was being written the oppression of women was at its peak while today it has drastically reduced and it is at its dying stages.
Bloom Harold. Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretation: The Color Purple. InfoBase Publishing. 2008. Print.
Walker, Alice. The color purple: a novel. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. Print.
Deutsch, Morton. 2006. A Framework for Thinking about Oppression and Its Change. "Social Justice Research", Vol. 19, No.1, March 2006, pp. 7–41
Vogel, Lise. Marxism and the oppression of women: toward a unitary theory. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2013. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. “Spark Note on the Color Purple.” SparkNotes.com. Spark Notes LLC. 2003. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Alex Walker. The Color Purple: Literature Study Guides. Paperback. 1996. Print.
Party for Social and Liberation (PSL). “Is Women’s Oppression Inevitable?” http://www.pslweb.org/party/marxism-101/11-is-womens-oppression-inevitable.html 2012.Web.
Shelbourne Mallory. The Oppression of Women and Girls in the Islamic State’s Caliphate’. The Long War Journal. 2014. Print.
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