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In Search of One’s Self--A Black Feminist Reading on the Color Purple

Author: HuangLinNa
Tutor: ZuoMin
School: Sichuan Normal University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Alice Walker The Color Purple black feminism
CLC:
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2002
Downloads: 1658
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Abstract


In Search of One’s Self—A Black Feminist Reading on The Color Purple Major: English Language & LiteratureGraduate: Huang Linna Supervisor: Professor Ji Min Afro-American writers have made great contribution to American literature in 20th century. Afro-American literature has become an indispensable part of American literature and culture. It is moving from margin to center. Black women writers have set off a new upsurge of literature since the 1970s. This is called the third Renaissance of Afro-American literature. Unquestionably Alice Walker is one of the most remarkable and influential Afro-American writers in contemporary American literary canon. Her masterpiece, The Color Purple depicts the Black women’s questing for identity and self-autonomy in the male-dominated patriarchal society. In addition, Walker points out Black males’ development from the oppressed to oppressors, and their self-examination, growth and transformation. It reflects the writer’s deep love for Black folks and tradition. At the same time, The Color Purple is set in the 1930s of America, however Walker pays more attention to sexism than racism; and Walker’s portrait of Black males in the novel both lead to the strong disapproval and controversy from some critics. Owing to the unique perspective and neoteric writing techniques, Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1983 and becomes the first Afro-American woman writer to win this honor in literary history.This thesis will apply black feminist critical theory to my study of The Color Purple. The thesis is composed of five parts:This part serves an introduction to the writer’s status in literary canon, major works, the influence of life experiences on the writer’s literary creation and the critical approach applied in the thesis.<WP=4>Chapter One provides readers the cultural and historical context: black feminism, Afro-American culture and contemporary Afro-American literary Renaissance; coming up next is the historical background in the novel; then it is the brief introduction to The Color Purple.Chapter Two is a detailed discussion of the protagonist, Celie’s journey from suffering to awakening, and finally winning autonomy, and other a few black women’s life of struggle in patriarchal society. In addition, the author also makes an analysis of Black males, especially the development of Albert. Chapter Three focuses on Walker’s neoteric writing techniques and narrative strategy— the use of epistolary style, the slave narrative and metaphors. Through these detailed analysis, the author proves The Color Purple is a novel of tradition and innovation.The last part gives the conclusion of the whole thesis and makes an objective assessment on Walker and The Color Purple, therefore proves the writer’s great influence on contemporary black feminist literature.

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