How Does the Sexual Identity of the Female Characters Contribute to Their Overall Development in ‘the Colour Purple?’

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How does the sexual identity of the female characters contribute to their overall development in ‘The colour purple?’ The sexual Identity of female characters contributes to their overall development, particularly in the protagonist, Celie’s life in which the discovery of her sexual identity is crucial in her overcoming oppression. The novel is of young black woman set in rural Georgia, early twentieth century stuck in a harsh patriarchal and segregated society. Alice walker represents these developments through sexual language in epistolary form. Celie is a mere naive 14 year old girl but by the end of the novel does an independent middle aged woman, both own a home and a business. The novel charts her progress through a series of letters written by her to god or her sister Nettie whom she was separated from in her childhood. Celie’s first introduction to sex was when she was raped by her father. ‘Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke’ Such a violent experience is what initially starts her fear of men and pushes her sexuality in the safety of women, who have always been kind to her. The protagonist sees sex as a form of violence or just as an uninspiring obligation to her husband until she meets Shug who describes virginity as an emotional state rather than sex. If you haven’t had pleasurable sex, she believes you’re still a virgin. Her blissful experiences with Shug empower her giving her confidence and letting her develop as a character, eventually to the point where it cannot be contained and overflows at the dinner table before she leaves with Shug and shares a speech filled with anger and hatred directed towards Mr-. This is where Celie becomes fully independent and first shows her feminist beliefs. Without Shug, Celie’s development as a character would not have happened. Shug’s character is one that doesn’t develop much during the novel, but has a hand in the development of other characters. She helps bring...
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