Alice Walker's Themes of Womanism, Community, and Regeneration

Powerful Essays
Li 1

Angel Li
Mrs. Harper
English 6H
7th February 2011 Alice Walker's Themes of Womanism, Community, and Regeneration Alice Walker is considered one of the most influential African American writers of the 20th century, because of her raw portrayal of African American struggles and the injustices towards black women. She was the first African American female novelist to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Her work is appealing and powerful because “Walker's novels can be read as an ongoing narrative of an African American woman's energence from the voiceless obscurity of poverty and racial and sexual victimization to become a reshaper of culture and tradition” (Gray 527). Through Celie’s experiences in The Color Purple, Alice Walker stresses the importance of womanism, the African American community as a whole, and the regeneration as an individual. By allowing Celie to find liberation and freedom from the men in her life, Walker conveys her support for womanism and the female-self. Alice Walker labels herself as a “womanist,” not a feminist, because “As a womanist, which is different from a feminist, she sees herself as someone who appreciates women's culture, emotions, and character” (Wilson 1586). She concentrates on the hardships and struggles of African American women which she separates into three categories: “the physically and psychologically abused black woman, a black woman who is torn by contrary, and the new black woman who re-creates herself...” (Bloom 52-53 1998). Celie, the main character of The Color Li 2
Purple, is used by Walker to convey these different types of women. She also criticizes the treatment and oppression of Celie by the African American men in her life, but does not condemn them. Two of the black men in the novel use women as property and use abuse, violence, and undermining to control their women as objects. But, Walker offers the possibility of



Bibliography: Bloom, Harold. Alice Walker. New York City: Chelsea, 1998. Print. - - -. Bloom 's BioCritiques – Alice Walker. Philadelphia: Chelsea, 2002. Print. Gray, Janet. “Alice Walker.” American Writers. Suppl. Part II. New York: MacMillan Publishing co., 1991. Print. Riley, Carolyn, and Mendelson, Phyllis Carmel, eds. “Walker Alice.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 6. Michigan: Gale Research co., 1976. Print. Riley, Carolyn, and Mendelson, Phyllis Carmel, eds. “Walker Alice.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Michigan: Gale Research co., 1976. Print. Reisman, Rosemary M. Canfield. “Alice Walker.” Great American Writers Twentieth Century. Vol. 11. New York: Marshal Cavendish, 2002. Print. Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. Orlando: Harcourt, 1970. Print. “Walker Alice (1944-).” Modern American Literature. 5th ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: St. James Press. 1999. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 12 Jan. 2011. Wilson, Kathleen. Major 20th Century Writers. Detroit: Gale, 1999. Print. Witalec, Janet. “Alice Walker.” Harlem Renaissance Vol. 2. Michigan: Gale, 2003. Print.

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