The Color Purple: A Feminist Analysis
December 11, 2018
Feminism is the advocacy for equality between men and women in all social, political, and economic aspects. In Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, male dominance is seen to suppress women which prevents the idea of equality between the sexes. The relationships between men and women are a reflection of the views of society and are seen through the perception that women are inferior and weak in comparison to men. This ongoing theme is made apparent through the beliefs surrounding gender roles, the limit of women’s rights, as well as the victimised females seen throughout the novel.
Women in the novel face a constant struggle in regard to gaining recognition because of the individual and cultural beliefs surrounding gender roles. It is obvious that the males in the book possess the power in their relationships and the women are forced to live under the dominance of their ‘rulers’. When Celie’s father gives away her hand in marriage without her consent, Celie goes from being a captive in the relationship with her father to being a slave in a new relationship with Mr.____. Celie demonstrates this dominance when she writes, “Pa call me. Celie, he say. Like it wasn’t nothing. Mr.____ want another look at you” (Walker 10). Celie is sold into the marriage without her consultation and has no say, due to having to submit to her father’s demands without question. Being a woman, she is not deemed deserving enough to make this decision on her own, so she enters a loveless marriage for the sole purpose of serving her husband’s needs and pleasing her father. The implication that women are incapable of making their own decisions due to weakness highlights the popular belief that women are inferior to men. Celie’s lack of voice caused by her husband and father’s patriarchal attitude ultimately prevents her from being viewed as an equal and degrades the value of being a woman.
The lack of women’s rights is another factor in the inequality of the sexes and is clearly portrayed throughout the course of the novel. The setting of the early 1900s provides the backdrop of women’s rights being insignificant as they are treated as property rather as citizens. The theme of the subordination of women’s rights is constantly seen in the novel and an example of this is Celie being forced by her father to give up her children at the age of fourteen. Through Celie saying, “He took my other little baby, a boy this time” (Walker 3), it is...