Push (Precious)

Feminist Language in Sapphire's Push

In her novel, Push, Sapphire challenges the conventions of patriarchal literature through use of language, characterization and archetype, as well as deviations in the traditional, patriarchal novel structure. One of the major elements in Sapphire’s revision of the paradigm of the conventional novel is the placement of the female figures in the forefront as opposed to the background, by presenting images of assertive and sharp-tongued women as opposed to docile and discreet ones and by having male characters fill more submissive roles.

The most obvious example of an emphasized female character is that of Precious Jones, the protagonist of the story. The story, which takes us through Precious’s woeful life is told mostly through her inner monologue, which is murky and encrypted with her vernacular and illiteracy. Part of the story is told through her writing, which increases gradually in proficiency as Precious learns more and more at the alternative school to which she is enrolled. Precious is a large, imposing figure, weighing in at well over two-hundred pounds. Though she expresses being quiet and alienated by her peers and abusive parents, if provoked she can also be highly aggressive and defensive. Such an example can be...

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