Walker’s representation of African-American men. Why do you think this is? How might you defend Walker’s treatment of masculinity in Detector Purple? In Walkers novel ‘The Color Purple’ she discusses the issues of racism, domestic abuse, sexuality, tradition, gender roles, family, love and spirituality in the 20th century African American culture, drawing on personal experience from her own life and understanding.
Through the eyes of Cell, a poor, barely educated, 14 year old lack girl, we are introduced to this past community and through Chilies interpretations we gain a better understanding of it. A major theme in the novel is the topic of masculinity. Walkers portrayer of masculinity becomes controversial when it is projected to us through the characters of Mr… , Harp, Chilies father and Mar’s. Father.
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These characters are all African American men and are revealed to us as essentially weak, abusive men, without understanding of the emotional needs and struggles of the women with whom they share their lives with. These men are made o represent all of the African American men of this time period. Many people were outraged by the contents of the book for the representation of African American men, a portrayer they considered untrue and unjust.
Historically the release of the book was during a time in which African Americans were still asserting themselves as citizens of the same status as the white people in the country, therefore by the release of a book from an African American women denouncing the black male, the book would seem to serve as a true representation for white people, encouraging territories and reasons to behave negatively towards black people. The difference between the book (written by a black woman) and the film (directed by a white man) was often forgotten in the rage of the people.
In contrast with reading the book in the privacy of your own home and reflecting upon it personally, when watching the movie you experience it with other people and are affected by their reactions toward it, their reactions toward you. The people were not mad simply because of how African American men were described, but the humiliation they had to endure because of it ; after fighting thee ar of ignorance for so long walkers interpretations felt like a step back in the ongoing struggle.
Walker was called a В?? traitor В?? and accused of cosponsoring with В?? white Hollywood В?? to mall-represent the black man, defaming him and increasing his struggles for acceptance. It is not to say that these interpretations of Walkers novel are particularly accurate nor that they are well thought through, simply that they are the snap Judgments of a struggling community attempting to assert themselves, left to feel betrayed by В?? one of their own В??. This is also not to say that Walker was entirely incorrect.
Walkers portrayer of African American men is indeed one of abuse and forced dominance, Mr… Imposes himself upon Nettle and Cell, treating them cruelly and without any form of empathy towards their situations. Mr… Believes that this form of dominance is the only way he can control his his household and keep himself in the position of authority ‘the king of the castle’ if you will В?? He beat me like he beat the children В?? . He gained this belief through his father and he onto his wife Sofia, resulting in a rapid dissolve of the relationship. Mr… Ether came to live by this ideal from personae experience as a victim of discrimination and abuse at the hands of white domination. At this point in time the people of the south were living under Jim Crower law, they were called В?? boys В??, treated like dirt and forced to feel as less-than-men. This demutualization was intentional and effective. It created a complex for the black men of the south, making them believe they could never truly be men, shaming their more sensitive emotions usually associated with indemnity and creating the belief that it should be despised.
Alberta visitation of Celli and Nettle is not purely evil for evils sake, it is a transfer of unresolved insecurities and complexes left to fester in his psyche. Albert is the representation of abuse and of what the abused can become:abusers. Byway of this walker is giving us the tools to a new perspective a perspective in which the mans rГ??eel is not so different from the females, like her he is the victim and indeed through the novel the roles of gender stereotypes are challenged.
This comparison and blending of gender is an important theme to the novel as walker is trying to make us understand that the differences between the man and the woman are not as obvious as you would initially believe they are. Most major characters throughout the novel disregard the stereotype(or learn to) and therefore grow as people, shrugging off the expectations set on them thriving within and without themselves.
Eventually none of the characters are what would be considered feminine or masculine (Albert admits to an enjoyment of cooking and cleaning and Celli starts a pants making bushiness) they flourish as individuals unburdened by expectations. Celli and Albert both come to represent self awareness and personal growth on two sides of the spectrum ; Albert learns redemption and self acceptance whilst Celli learns forgiveness and spiritual awareness. By presenting the African American man to us as she did Walker has attempted to teach us a lesson of acceptance В?? What happens with most of us is, that if it’s hard, we’d Just rather not deal with it…
We’d rather push it away, forget about it. But actually we could learn a lot that would help us go on with greater courage and fortitude if we did honor the difficult by acknowledging that it was difficult В?? Acceptance of history is important to any society in order to grow, Walkers contribution to her community was not a book on their В?? failures В??(Tony Browns description of The Color Purple motion picture in his book Carolina Peacemaker) but of their difficult history, her contribution was a lesson in moving on.