Alice Walker is one of the most influential and valuable black female writers in American literary scene. She devoted herself to the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Human Right Campaign. Deeply affected by feminism, she spent long amounts of time in fighting for women liberation and racial equality as her entire enterprise. Her work The Color Purple, which aroused widespread concerns due to distinctive and simple epistolary style, and the impressive feminine image and moving plot.
This paper is designed to interpret womanism from the standpoint of Bakhtin’s dialogue theory and consists of four parts. Chapter One describes Alice Walker and her work The Color Purple, literature review and theoretical basis. Chapter Two analyzes character features of The Color Purple through character images and dialogues to interpret womanism. And Chapter Three elucidates that this paper can interpret womanism by the use of Bakhtin’s dialogue theory and its polyphonic structure and humanity. The final part is a conclusion, which presents concentrated summary of the paper. Womanism should be taken as a theoretical guidance to achieve the goal of eliminating racial discrimination and gender discrimination and achieve the independence, equality and freedom of colored women, and build a harmonious world for men and women. Meanwhile, this paper draws a conclusion that Bakhtin's dialogue theory can analyze the practicality and significance of womanism in The Color Purple.
Key Words: The Color Purple; womanism; Bakhtin’s Dialogue Theory
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Alice Walker and The Color Purple 1
1.2 Literature review 2
1.3Theoretical basis 2
1.3.1 Bakhtin’s dialogue theory 2
1.3.2 Womanism and feminism 3
2 Womanism in Typical Character Images and Dialogues 5
2.1 Symbolization of Shug as a womanist 5
2.2 Profile of Celie as a womanist 6
2.3 The attitude changes of black men 7
3 Dialogue Theory in Womanism 10
3.1 Interpretation of womanism from polyphonic structure 10
3.2 Interpretation of womanism from humanity 12
4 Conclusion 14
Interpretation of Womanism in The Color Purple from Bakhtin’s Dialogue Theory
Alice Walker is a celebrity and her name spreads all over the world, her masterpiece The Color Purple is read with admiration by people, and many experts and scholars are interested in this novel.
1.1 Alice Walker and The Color Purple
Alice Walker is an American novelist, poet, womanist and activist. She wrote a highly acclaimed novel The Color Purple, for which she won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She is a productive writer, and her works are famous for phenomenon description of black women’s discriminatory reality and social inequality including sexism, racism and poverty, which are exposed bravely by her. Walker created a series of books such as In search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose(1983), The Third Life of Grange Copeland(1970), Meridian(1976), and The Color Purple(1982) to express such above-mentioned themes. In addition to a series of famous works, Alice Walker is also renowned for her unique creation “womanism”. And Walker created the term “womanism” to take the place of the term “feminism”, which showed her admiration of black women and further explanation of female gender. As a feminist and womanist, she took part in the Feminist Movement and the Civil Right Movement positively.
The Color Purple, is one of the most significant masterpieces in Alice Walker’s writing career. Walker uses precisely numerous dialects and straightforward narration to describe details of protagonist Celie’s solitary life in letters. This epistolary novel reserves not only the depiction of her isolated life, but also letters for God and for her sister and her sister’s replies. And it portrays the black female not only are oppressed by white people, but by the black men. Walker reveals a wretched world where black women can not feel love and tortured by oppressors through Celie’s tragic lifetime and miserable destiny.
1.2 Literature review
Since Alice Walker and The Color Purple were known by Chinese, a growing number of experts, scholars and other literature lovers all have interest in Alice Walker and her works. They did the massive researches and studies on Alice Walker and her masterpiece The Color Purple from different perspectives. The results of their research enlightens them to discuss these significant themes: the theory of womanism, black women’s awakening and revolt, and color symbols.
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