Alice Walker

Topics: Alice Walker, The Color Purple, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Pages: 8 (2066 words) Published: May 6, 2014
Chelsea LaFlair LaFlair 1 Professor Rhonda Rodriguez
English 209
17 March 2014
Alice Walker
As a writer, Alice Walker deals with many issues, most of which concern historical and modern race problems in America.  Through this she brings to national attention the cruelty and inhumane abuse that African Americans have endured.  This general topic can be broken down into many areas that she feels are important for people to know and to learn from.  Alice walker was born on the ninth of February in 1944, In Eatonton Georgia.  She was the eighth and youngest child of poor sharecroppers Minnie Tallulah Grant and William Lee Walker. Alice grew up surrounded by violent racism, and her family was poor, this led to an everlasting effect on her writing.             Alice grew up in a rural community in Georgia surrounded by a big family. During walker’s childhood, her mother worked as a house maid to support her family, she also helped Alice’s father with sharecropping. When she was 8 years old Alice suffered from a tragic incident, while playing around in her backyard with her two brothers, she got shot in her right eye with a bb pellet causing her to go blind in her right eye.  This accident led to her and her father no longer socializing with each other. After the accident Alice’s father tried to come up with the money for Alice’s surgery to get her eye fixed, but his failure to do so caused Alice to LaFlair 2

decide to cut him out of her life completely. This accident didn’t just ruin relationships in Alice’s life, it also caused Alice to become self-conscious of herself, because whitish damaged scar tissue formed in the eye, she became embarrassed of this mark. When Alice was 14, her brother bill had the cataract removed by a Boston doctor, but her vision never returned in that eye. After the incident, Walker largely withdrew from the world around her. "For a long time, I thought I was very ugly and disfigured," she told John O'Brien in an interview that was published in Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives, Past and Present. "This made me shy and timid, and I often reacted to insults and slights that were not intended." She found solace in reading and writing poetry. (Alice Walker 2)             Walker attended segregated schools, while living in the racially divided south as a child. She graduated from her high school with high honors and she was valedictorian of her class. In 1967 Walker married activist Melvyn Leventhal. The couple had one daughter, Rebecca Walker, before divorcing in 1976. She was able to go to Spelman College in Atlanta, because of the help of a scholarship. She later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York City. By her senior year, Walker was suffering from extreme depression, most likely related to being pregnant so young. She considered committing suicide and at times kept a razor blade under her pillow. In effort to explain her feelings she wrote several volumes of poetry. While attending Sarah Lawrence, as part of a study-abroad program, she had the opportunity to visit South Africa and she did so. She graduated in 1965—the same year that she published her first short story. “After college, Walker worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. She became active in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equality for all African Americans. Her experiences informed her first collection of poetry, Once, which was published in 1968. Better LaFlair 3

known now as a novelist, Walker showed her talents for storytelling in her debut work, Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970). Walker continued to explore writing in all of its forms. In 1973, she published a set of short stories, In Love and Trouble; the poetry collection Revolutionary Petunias; and her first children's book, Langston Hughes: American Poet. She also emerged as a prominent voice in the black feminist movement.” (Literature...

Cited: "Alice Walker." Alice Walker. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
"Alice Walker Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 319. Detroit: Gale. From Literature Resource Center.
Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale. From Literature Resource Center.
Poetry Criticism. Ed. Ellen McGeagh and Linda Pavlovski. Vol. 30. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. From Literature Resource Center.
Walker, Alice, and Barbara Christian. Everyday Use. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1994. Print.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple: A Novel. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. Print.
Walker, Alice. You Can 't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981. Print.
World Literature Criticism, Supplement 1-2: A Selection of Major Authors from Gales Literary Criticism Series. Ed. Polly Vedder. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1997. From Literature Resource Center.
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