The Color Purple

Reconciliation Between Public and Private Spheres: Mrs. Dalloway and The Color Purple 12th Grade

The ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres are often held as two separate entities, both representing opposing positions of social freedom or restraint. Whereas the public realm is the more conformed-to and socially hegemonic of the two, the private is associated with an unseen process of identification, allowing private thoughts to remain free. In spite of this, the authors of Mrs Dalloway and The Color Purple attempt to reconcile the two spheres, developing initially private thoughts into the public realm in their texts by removing personal privacy altogether. Although the public advancement of restricted characters demonstrates the authors’ success in moving the focus from private to public, some concerns arise as to whether reconciliation is truly achieved or whether it even can be. Whilst both authors view the shift into a public society as the path to liberation, the violation of privacy opens up both the authors’ and characters’ personal opinions to public criticism. The complete destruction of the private sphere – and what it represents – then appears as the only way to progress into the public realm, as Walker’s and Woolf’s characters adhere to the conventions of the public sphere in order to release themselves from the...

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