Road of Redemption Through Rejection of Male Dominance
The novel the color purple by Alice Walker is well known for is revolutionary theme of black lesbianism. Until this novel and other leading writers touched on the subject of black lesbianism, it was viewed as dirty and unspeakable. The protagonist, Celie, brings respect and positive attributes to the idea of black lesbianism. Walker’s depicture of Celie not only relates constructive events towards lesbianism, but also journeys through the rejection of male dominance and how it brings Celie freedom. Most of Celie’s freedom comes in the form of monetary relief and independence. However freedom also comes from Celie’s change of world view; from a repressive patriarchal society and God to a gentle and softer version of religion.
Walker emphasizes the oppression black women face in relationships with black men (brothers, fathers, husbands, lovers) and the bond the women must form with each other in order to free themselves. Right from the beginning of the novel, Walker introduces a hard to digest picture of rape, incest, and sexual cruelty. “He never had a kine word to say to me… Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me” (Walker 1). This telling of rape by her father is also seen through the eyes of the reader as lacking emotion or at least the emotions such as anger and anguish that come with an event such as rape. Celie’s life begins to form into a picture of a slave’s, with her missing feelings and reactions to the horrible fates that befall her. After this rape, Celie becomes pregnant and is forced to separate with her child straight after. According to Ana Marie Fraile-Marcos who wrote a critical essay on Walker’s “womanist” representation of lesbianism, Celie’s sexual abuse becomes endemic after her two successive pregnancies and deliveries. Celie seems to accept sexual exploitation and oppression as shaping factors in her life and not only does Celie become...
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