A Study of Womanism the Symbolic Cols in The Col Purple毕业论文
1. Introduction 1
2. Demonstration 3
2.1 Womanism reflected from the symbolic colors…………………………………………3
2.2 The symbolic meanings of different colors 5
2.2.1 Red 5
2.2.2 Black 6
2.2.3 Blue 7
2.2.4 Purple 8
3. Conclusion 9
Works Cited 10
A Study of Womanism from the Symbolic Colors
in The Color Purple
Alice Walker (1944- ) is one of the most predominant African-American black women writers in American literature. Born on February 9, 1944, she was the last child of the family in a small rural town in Eatonton, Georgia. When she was eight, her brother accidentally shot her in the eye and then she became blind in her right eye. Due to being ugly, she became depressed, solitary and just hid herself in a room all the time. However, during this period of time, she got a good chance to read a lot of books, which played a very significant role in her writing career. She attended Spell-man college from 1961 to 1963 and then transferred to Sarah Lawrence college. In 1965, she earned a B.A . During her college life, she was very interested in the U.S Civil Rights Movement and continued the activism after graduation. And it influenced the writing of her novels. The Women’s Liberation Movement made Alice Walker realize the necessity for black women to rebel and win freedom under the double oppression of family and society. Greatly affected by feminism, Alice Walker regarded fighting for racial equality and women liberation as her life career.
As we all know, The Color Purple, published in 1982, is Alice Walker’s representative work, arousing great sensations in the critical field. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1983, the American Book Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1985, the novel was adapted into a very popular movie by Steven Spielberg. The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a poor, uneducated, fourteen-year-old black girl living in rural Georgia. Celie writes to God to tell about her life—her roles as daughter, wife, sister and mother, because she has undergone the double oppression since she marries. The novel is composed of 92 letters, including the letters Celie writes to God as well as the letters Nettie writes to Celie.
The novel tells a story of how the heroine becomes an independent, confident and courageous woman from a meek, timid, and submissive black woman. The story happened in the south of Georgia. Celie was violently raped by her stepfather Alfonso many times, but she dared not say to anybody except God because of her stepfather’s threat. Celie had two children. However, they were taken away immediately by Alfonso when they were born. Later Alfonso married her to Mr. Albert, who regarded Celie just as a tool to sex and housework. As a result, Celie experienced a hard and loveless life. Albert even wanted to rape her sister, Nettie. But Nettie ran away. So in the following thirty years, Celie didn’t hear from her. Being ill, Shug Avery, an American-African singer who was also Albert’s lover, was brought back to his home. Because of the good care of Celie, Shug gradually recovered and established good friendship with Celie. Affected by Shug, Celie became confident and also learned to appreciate herself. Later, with the help of Shug, she found that Albert had secretly kept Nettie’s letters to her for many years. She was so angry that she left Albert finally. She got economic independence by making pants. After Alphonso died, Celie inherited the house that her biological father left. On the other hand, Albert went down slope after Celie left him. After introspection, he turned a new leaf and became a friend of Celie. In the end, Celie reunited with her sister and her own children. Celie not only won her respect, love and dignity, but also established a harmonious relationship with men.
This thesis mainly focuses on womanism by analyzing the symbolic colors in The Color Purple. Womanism is a social theory deeply rooted in the racial and gender oppression of black women.What Walker values is not feminism in its narrow sense but womanism. In 1983, she proposed to abandon some unspecified “feminism” , and replace it with a more extensive connotation of “womanism” which is defined to be “dedicated to the realization of all the people, including men and women’s survival and perfectionism” （19）. Alice Walker first utilized the term “womanist” in her work, In Search of our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose. She explains that the term womanist is derived from the southern folk expression “acting womanish” (Walker 23). The womanish girl exhibits willful, courageous, and outrageous behavior that is considered to be beyond the scope of societal norms. According to Alice Walker, a womanist is
a woman who loves another woman, sexually and or non-sexually. She
appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional
flexibility…she is committed to the survival and wholeness of an entire