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Facing adversity : Women and religion in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”

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  1. Alice Walker initially introduces readers to Celie.
  2. After Celie's mother dies, her father gives her away in marriage.
  3. Celie begins to liberate herself from the dogmatic and deeply embedded images of religion.
  4. Celie can now see past the rigid images of a patriarchal God.
  5. Shug Avery is a musician in 'The Color Purple' who is given superior status by Walker.

Alice Walker's ?The Color Purple? is one of the most well known novels in contemporary literature. This book places the author among the top literary canon of American writers. Since its first publication in 1982, the novel continuously gains both positive acclaims and ambivalent reviews from literary critics. Walker examines many issues in this novel such as gender differences and dynamics, social issues, religion and its impact on the world, and racial tensions. The characters in The Color Purple often find themselves facing great adversity due to these specific issues. This paper will focus specifically on the importance of female relationships and their impact on the dissolution of a patriarchal God figure that dictates the roles of womanhood

[...] Simawe (2000), author of ?Shamans Of Song: Music And The Politics Of Culture In Alice Walker's Early Fiction,? also makes some interesting points about Alice Walker's use of female characters in her novels. Simawe (2000) explains that Walker often assigns musicians a supreme status among artists whom she considers to be superior human beings are capable of humanizing individuals with the impact of their artistic creation, which is essentially spiritual? (Simawe 232). Shug Avery is a musician in Color Purple? who is given superior status by Walker and who is also ?essentially spiritual? (Simawe 232). [...]


[...] In her article ?From Monotheism To Pantheism: Liberation From Patriarchy In Alice Walker's The Color Purple,? Hankinson explains that Shug and Nettie are crucial character vehicles that allow Celie to overcome adversity (Hankinson 1997). For example, Hankinson believes that Celie's divergence from her patriarchal family structure and the new perspective of God that she acquires is largely due to Shug's creative views of God and Nettie's written descriptions of the Olinka god in Africa. These two female characters pose a radically different view of God to Celie, which allows for the reconstruction of Celie's own personal identity by making her aware of God's existence outside of the traditional Christian ideology (Hankinson 322). [...]

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