The Color Purple

The Definition of a Woman 12th Grade

If asked, most people would say women are strong, passionate, loving, but not all of these positive traits truly define who they are. Their nature is deemed the most difficult to define because they have negative aspects that contribute to their strength, passion, and ability to give love. In The Color Purple, Alice Walker uses foils between multiple main characters, literary devices, and divisive imagery to communicate that femininity and being a woman are both defined by a variety of personal and societal standards.

Walker purposely creates female characters that are different from each other to create a holistic view of femininity. The main character Celie is a woman who embodies the oppression of females. In many instances throughout the book, Celie is disrespected by the male characters. After she is beaten by her father for winking at a boy in church (11), she affirms “I don’t even look at mens. The truth is I look at womens though cause I’m not scared of them” (11). Celie builds her life primarily on the fear of men and their power. Because of this, she quietly serves and does not confront her oppression portraying a cowardice characteristic that most women have tried to overcome. In contrast to Celie however, Sofia is a...

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