The Struggles Faced in the Color Purple and the Joy Luck Club

Topics: The Color Purple, Amy Tan, Culture of China Pages: 5 (1845 words) Published: November 3, 2001
The Struggles Faced in The Color Purple and The Joy Luck Club A common bond of struggle links the novels The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Rape, suicide, death, war, oppression, and racism invade the two novels. In The Color Purple, Celie overcomes racism, violence, and other issues to find dignity and love. In the Joy Luck Club, the daughters struggle for acceptance, love, and happiness. Though the characters endure many hardships they survive not only by not becoming bitter individuals but becoming more whole individuals. Celie in The Color Purple has struggled since the very beginning because of the poor treatment she has received by men. Being raped by her father Fonso, Celie becomes pregnant and Fonso sells both of the children that she has. Celie promises to protect Nettie, her sister, from Fonso's abuse is the first sign of her taking a stance to prevent the horrors which are occurring in her patriarchal existence. When married her husband Albert just uses her as a slave. He perceives her as livestock, and denies her not only love but humanity (Hall, 3) The first night together he raped her. She worked on the farm and put up with his children. At 14 she writes notes to God on the dehumanizing nature of her existence and the humiliations she has suffered (Kirkpatrick, 846). Although she totally devalues herself, Celie finds her sister very valuable, worth protecting. Her selflessness and lack of bitterness are evident here. Celie shows resentment and bitterness at the way she has been treated by men. Albert also betrays her by hiding all of the letters from Nettie making Celie believe that her sister is dead. She also feels betrayed by God, who seems to her to have condoned much of the strife in her life. Celie's life has been one of hopelessness, even longing for death as a relief from life's hardships (Hankinson, 3) Shug suggests to her that the ultimate goal for people is life giving rather than life denying. Celie is also a prime example of trying to overcome her struggle to find who or what she wants to be. Shug Avery is a symbol to Celie of the ideal women that she wants to be. Shug is also a symbol of life, freedom, and love. Celie is submissive and abused often. However, she has not lost her intelligence and keeps her anger in check and doesn't do anything rash for the sake of seeing her sister again. In reality, Celie gains power and authority through her anger. Celie's power and authority gives her the willfulness to leave Albert. Although Albert insult her when she decides to leave him and go with Shug. He criticizes her for her poverty, color, gender, and looks. This new philosophy that positions Celie ‘being part of everything, not separate at all' fortifies her with self-acceptance and leads her to reject male mastery (Hankinson, 3) When Celie moves into Shug's house she discovers a newfound freedom made possible by Shug. Walkers' women transform their lives and focus on female bonding. Celie and the women surrounding her struggle for bondage. Celie finds a bond with many females. Walker introduces the hint of Celie's sexual attraction to women in church. Afraid of men because of the cruel treatment by her father, Celie turns more and more towards the company of women, who represent love, warmth, and feelings of solidarity to her. Celie affirms her sexual identity in her relationship with Shug Avery. For now, it is manifested merely as what men cannot offer. Shug helps Celie aware of her own sexuality, and ironically ‘redefines' her as a ‘virgin' (Hall, 4) Shug helps Celie with self-identification. A bondage that Celie faces is the discovery of Nettie's letters that Albert has hidden from her. She has regained bondage with her sister whom she thought was no longer alive. She bonded with Shug to find the letters and with the help of Shug she was advised not to kill Albert even though it was tough for Celie to accept this for the...

Cited: Hall, James C. "Towards a Map of Mis(sed) Reading: The Presence of Absence in the Color Purple" African American Review (Spring 1992):2-6
Hamiliton, Patricia L. "Feng Shui, Astrology, and the Five Elements: Traditional Chinese Belief in Amy Tan 's the Joy Luck Club" MELUS (Summer 1999):1
Hankinson, Stacie L. "From Monotheism to Pantheism: Liberation from Patriarchy in Alice Walker 's the Color Purple" Midwest Quarterly (Spring 1997): 3
Heung, Marina "Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan 's Joy Luck Club"Feminist Studies (Fall 1993): 3
Kirkpatrick, D.L. "Alice Walker" 1986. New York, NY: St. Martin 's Press. 846
Schell , Orville "Amy Tan the Joy Luck Club" March 1989. New York: 1989. 92
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. 1989. New York: G.P. Putnam
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