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Gender, Race and Harmony-Analyzing the Color Purple from Womanist Perspective

Author MengXin
Tutor DuJuan
School Lanzhou University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords womanism race gender harmony
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
Downloads 178
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Alice Walker is one of the most influential and controversial writer in American literature in 1970’s. As a black woman writer, Walker pays more attention to the black women who have the lowest social status. Walker’s masterpiece, The Color Purple, an epistolary novel, criticizes both racial and sexual discrimination, as well as the sexual oppression among the black. These discriminations turn to be the main reasons for the miserable situation of black women. Walker’s womanist proposition is characterized by four points:anti-sexism, anti-racism, afrocentrism and humanism. These essential features are entirely presented throughout the whole novel.Racism and sexism are the main elements to hinder the development of black men, especially of black women and even to distort the nature of the black. Black women always become the innocent victim of the dual oppressions. The thesis analyzes the features of anti-sexism and anti-racism in the novel, explores the sisterhood among the black women, and interprets the inevitability of sisterhood for the black women to be awakened and achieve integrity, through which the black women unite and support each other to obtain self-liberation and wholeness. Sisterhood also embodies goal of "the survival and wholeness of entire people" in Walker’s womanism. For the black women, being economic independent is a prerequisite to achieve independent personality, establish self-esteem and survive as a whole human being. With economic independence, it is likely for the black women to get the equality with men, and then to build a kind of harmonious relationship----the ideal social relationship of womanism.

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