Queering Black Patriarchy
The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg is a film and the main plot is a black man that beats and abused his wife, Celie. Celie was happy at first to get out of her house because of her abusive father that took her kids away from her but at the same time distraught of leaving her sister. The movie had originated from a book written by Alice Walker. Alice walker was accused of favoring white feminists while at the same time being very bitter to the black males. After the movie premiered, Alice was criticized from the black male population on her writings and was said that she betrayed the black family and community. Alice portrayed the black manhood in a very negative manner and took away the respect of the black male figure. “The salvific wish is best understood as an aspiration, most often but not only middle-class and female, to save or rescue the black community from white racist accusations of sexual and domestic pathology, through the embrace of conventional bourgeois propriety.” This salvific wish was a way for the black females to get the respect that they deserve out in the community. The black race overall has had this problem ever since the end of slavery. Walker places her book in the south during the early 1900s when racial segregation was huge and whites were a constant threat to the male and female blacks. Alice then goes on to explain how the black men have always took on the role of being the ‘bread winner’ in the family. Meaning that the men have had to provide for their families and that the females have never fit that image. The women are just pictured to cook, clean, and take care of the house. She then explains that men want respect from their sons and want to shape there sons right. The male father figure must put fear in the son for the son to respect him. Harpo’s father was always dominant to him and Celie. Harpo saw this and wanted that same dominance and respect from his wife Sophia but she just throws it back in his face, which provides a source of comic relief. One of the main points throughout Walkers writing is the dominance aspect of the community and of the south at the time. The men have to show their dominance over the wife and the kids and the whites have to show dominance over the blacks. The idea of black women writing fictional novels about history was harshly criticized at the time. The writings began around the 1980’s and this was shortly after the civil rights movement. Although some of the critics loved it and were inspired through her novel for the salvific wish.
After reading the article that Candice Jenkins wrote about The Color Purple, it gave me a deeper meaning of the writing. I have not actually read the book but I did see most of the movie during class. I thought the movie was very good and loved how they portrayed the south during the time of slavery. It gave me a better understanding of how life actually was for blacks and also black women. They were very degraded during the early 1900s. Jenkins article really even showed me how much worse it was than the book portrayed it as. It is still hard for me to wrap my head around how disrespected women were especially in today’s world where women are taking on more and more important roles in our society. I would never hit a girl but back then it was normal for a father to beat his wife, which is so wrong. Overall, I enjoyed the movie and the article intrigued me even more. Character Analysis
The character that stood out to me the most and the one I wish to analyze would have to be Miss Sophia. Throughout the movie, Sophia’s character changes and that is what makes her such a unique individual. We see Sophia first when Harpo comes home and wants to introduce his girlfriend, Sophia, to his father, Albert. At the beginning of the story, Sophia comes off as a large, fiercely independent woman with a lot of attitude. Her initial remarks to Albert shows that she is not afraid to stand up for her self...
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