Alice Walker and Feminism essay

To start speaking about the main topic we should mention processes in the American literature happening during the last century. Undoubted success of dark-skinned authoresses in the United States of the last decades moved their colleagues in shade. The today situation is unique: it is hardly ever possible to imagine another national literature, where the top is occupied by women and men are admitted as the exception or in the role of critics and specialists in study of literature. In literature women are usually considered to be rare exceptions. The Afro-American authoresses rejected a literary standard, generated by a masculine mind and talent. They looked at the world not with the white men description, but as on intended for understanding of black women, and, by the way, for their pleasure. They began to develop the cultural paradigm, unique in that sense, because sex, race and class are involved in it. Thus all of these three positions are passive and suffering.

And Alice Malsenior Walker is the evident example, one of the most famous and talented women in the USA. From the first sight she is an ordinary American women, but looking closer it is obvious tat she is recognized as one of the influential minds of the American literary society. Her works are fully penetrated wit love for freedom and understanding, equality and truth. In her works she often depicts the black man’s life, underlining that it is vitally important to remain faithful to the people and no doubt, to keep up (save) the traditions of the previous generations.

All her works deserve special attention and exactly due to such achievements Alice Walker was awarded for her works so many times. It is written on Anniina’s Alice Walker Page:

She received the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color

   Purple. Among her numerous awards and honors are the

Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the

Arts, the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of

Arts & Letters, a nomination for the National Book Award, a

Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, a Merrill Fellowship, a

Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Front Page Award for Best

Magazine Criticism from the Newswoman’s Club of New York.

She also has received the Townsend Prize and a Lyndhurst


Many people can agree that she deserves that.

Reading her works, it becomes obvious that she is a real warrior and she fights for the prosperous bright future of all black women. Moreover there is no escape from mentioning one of her best novels “The Color Purple” (Published in 1982). It is constructed in a way of letters.

”¦Celie writes and addresses as letters to God. The act of

writing becomes a crucial medium of self-discovery for

Celie, allowing her to divulge her secret humiliation and

pain while charting a growing awareness of the world around

her. Critics have often praised Walker’s forthright

depiction of taboo subjects in the novel and her clear

rendering of folk idiom and dialect through Celie’s written

voice. (Kramer, Barbara 27)

But all in all it mainly draws in details the biography of a black slave woman of the 19-th century. In one of the novel’s parts a husband tells his wife Celie, the main heroine that she is black, poor, ugly and moreover she is a woman. He generally underlines that she is nothing at all. But she contradicts, saying that she is here. So, in that way a new black woman, a working toiler of the American prosperity appeared on the American cultural horizon.

Walker’s epistolary tale chronicles the startling tragedy

and triumph of a poor black woman named Celie in her

struggle for self-empowerment, sexual freedom, and

spiritual growth in rural Georgia in the early twentieth

century (Christian, Barbara 19).

The novel was filmed by Steven Spielberg, and after that Cilie, the main heroine, opened a lot for the society. A fervor which was in literature of African Americans infected the whole America. Cilie is just a representative, a theorist of race-class-gender approach, which has found its place in the American universities next to such respectable and considerable methods, as structuralism and psychoanalysis, widely applied now in the USA. One of its tasks is to enter in American history something that is already forgotten: history of minorities and history of women. It is hardly ever possible to find a university in America, where courses on the theme of American Cultural Diversity, I.e. cultural variety, Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity and Sexuality are not lectured. Thus these courses belong to the research tools (research instruments) and teach the row of methodological method. Race-class-gender method is a deconstruction in fact. And the task of every deconstruction is to take apart and look, how everything is arranged (in this case history and literature) and to find out the answer, I.e. what are the relations of power, the relations of dominating and repressed discourse, the figures of silence.

Speaking about the feministic ideas of the novel “The Color purple” we should realize everything that has happened to the main heroine. Firstly her stepfather, who violated a fourteen year girl, humbled her, then her husband whose cruelty was unbearable. It is cited in GradeSaver LLC:

Celie’s life with Mr. _______ is almost as bad as her life

with Pa. She still gets beaten and is forced to work like a

slave both in the house and out on the fields.

But all the events happening to the main heroine left scars in her soul, but did not touch her mind. She found forces in her body and in her behavior to overcome the difficulties and powerlessness, to become free and independent. The novel finishes, bringing new positive emotions:

The full empowerment of Celie arrives in full force at the

end of the novel when Nettie returns to her and she has

Shug by her side. Celie is now surrounded by a large group

of people whom she loves. For her this is the greatest

moment of her life, and thus she  remarks that she feels

younger than she has ever felt before. For Celie, having

her family return and to finally be loved by other people

is the equivalent of starting a new life (Kramer, Barbara 68).

This struggle against violation and cruelty is the sigh of feminism that the author wanted to report a reader.

From the beginning of the 1980th antiracist feminist discussions were concentrated on determination of political aims of fight of black women (as far as do they coincide with the aims of black men?) and symbolic value of their experience. Alice Walker, supposing that white women do not have a necessity to determine their feminism as a “white” one, because it always comes from a white culture, introduced into practice a contrasting adverse term of womanism (from angl. woman). It signifies Afrotcentric feminism as a creative process of “growth of consciousness”, directed to providing with internal force (empowering) of both women and men, to elimination of different hierarchies and systems oppressing which pierce western society. An eloquent idea belongs to Alice Walker that black feminism, or womanism is based on historical force of black women in their families and communities and rich Afro-American tradition of resistance and survival. Black feminists laid the emphasis on a concept of “Plural consciousness”( Warhol, Robyn 76). It means that the different systems of racism, sexism and racial oppressing co-operate in the lives of the colored USA women simultaneously. These researches presented an Afrocentric perspective in the history of women instead of Eurocentric that allowed estimating those imperious roles which are played by women in African societies.

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