Overcoming Prejudices for Self Acceptance
Throughout Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple, the main character, Celie, reveals all of the hardships she has endured during her life. Celie confides in her younger sister, Nettie, and God to express the way she feels in certain situations. As the story progresses, Celie eventually finds her voice and breaks away from all the men who oppressed her during her life. For the duration of the novel, prejudice becomes a reoccurring theme. Not only does Celie struggle with the external prejudices of sexism and racism, but she also struggles with the internal prejudices toward herself. By using Celie’s struggles as an example, Walker teaches the reader that one must overcome prejudices in order to accept themselves.
Sexism becomes one of the main external struggles throughout the novel. With the use of the name “Mr.__” for Celie’s husband, Albert, Walker shows the reader Celie’s growing resentment towards him. The use of this name “suggests fearful effacement of an identity too dangerous to reveal” (Heglar). She begins to show bitterness when she says, “I scurry bout, doing this, doing that. Mr.__ sit by the door gazing here and there” (Walker 43). Celie takes the traditional roll of caring for the house while Mr.__ sits by and tends to his own needs and not the needs of the family. Celie’s dislike towards him grows throughout the novel as he becomes more selfish. Sexism occurs again with the use of gender roles in Harpo and Sofia’s relationship. Sofia represents a strong woman who does not let men dominate her. She and Harpo struggle with these roles throughout the novel. Sophia takes on a more masculine roll and Celie describes their arguments as “fighting like two mens” (Walker 38). Harpo believes that he should beat Sofia because she does not act like Celie in the sense that she does not give in to his every command. Finally, the use of gender violence is passed down through the generations. Gerri Bates stated...
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