1,377
15
Essay, 12 pages (3000 words)

How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems

Advertising We'll write a high-quality original custom paper on How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems just for you with a 15% discount for the 1st order Use a Discount Use a Discount

Both writers explore the plight of women and condemn the acts of sexism and racism. Walker and Atwood both show how women can overcome the harsh situations that occur, however the writers do this using various different styles. The life of Celie in “ The Color Purple” emphasises the hardships and joys of black people, focussing on gender inequality. Celie is in a position of complete powerlessness throughout the beginning letters. She is so defenceless that the only person she talks to is God, and even then she is forced to write letters rather than pray.

Dear God what is happening to me? ” Celie first loses the ability to control her own life when her mother falls ill. This forces her to assume the duties of her mother. Through rapes and beatings she is completely dominated by Pa. “ Wives are like children and they must be beaten if they are to be kept in order” When talking of Celie Pa states” I can let you have Celie, I got a fresh one in there myself” This reminds us of the purchase of a slave. And shows how Celie is used throughout the beginning of the novel. Trudier Harris also thought that Walker was “ trying to divide the black community through her accounts of male dominance.

” However I think Alice Walker gives a realistic account of the way people treated one another, there are various social groupings that provide an obstacle for communication, but regardless of whatever ‘ group’ each character is to fall under, there are bound to be obvious arguments within the groups themselves, for example obvious tension between black males and black females, to say this is dividing the black community is wrong, Alice Walker is simply revealing the harsh reality of that time. This is a similar opinion to that of Richard Wesley, who states that, “ No one in America, Black America especially, should be telling writers what they may or may not say. ” Celie is strongly disempowered by sex. The novel starts with her being raped by Pa, showing an immediate inability to resist on her part. When she is married to Mr. , he mistreats her as much as Pa did.

Celie describes sex as something which is done to her, but never as something which she enjoys. Thus, sex with Mr. reduces her status to that of an object, which lies there and waits for it to be over. Celie tells Shug that she has never enjoyed sex, causing Shug to tell Celie that she is “ still a virgin” Sex also plays a crucial role in empowering the other characters.

Nettie is protected from rape by Celie in the beginning and thus eventually able to run away from home. Sofia enjoys sex with Harpo and uses it to escape from her home by getting pregnant. The connection between sex and object hood emerges in Sofia’s relationship with Harpo. Since sex is something Sofia controls, she is empowered to fight Harpo when he tries to reduce her to the status of an object. The arrival of Shug Avery marks the lowest point of Celie’s status and power. Celie is now being asked to care for the mistress of her husband.

Up until this point, Celie has at least had the status of being Mr. ‘ s wife, allowing her to maintain control over her household. With the arrival of Shug, Celie loses even this precarious position, and she is reduced to the level of being a servant to Shug. At the first sighting of Shug Celie states that Shug is “ more evil than my mamma.

” Sex also plays a key role in the empowerment of the characters. Whereas sex was used in the first section to disempower Celie, in this section it is used to empower her. Once Shug is able to show Celie what sex can really be like, Celie no longer blindly accepts sex as something that happens to her. Indeed, she tells Shug that she even got Mr. to try and stimulate her rather than simply to have sex and go to sleep. However, the crucial moment of empowerment for Celie comes when Shug is willing to sleep with her.

For Celie this marks the first time sex actually has meaning, and this new meaning releases her from the constraints of male domination. She thus gains control over her own body and sexuality. Celie has a strong sexual attraction for Shug and states that “ First time I got sight of Shug Avery’s long black body with it black plum nipples look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man” Critic Philip Royster states, “ It is through Celies awareness of the right to passion, creation and satisfaction possible in life that she empowers herself. ” However sex is not the only reason why Celie overcomes her plight, it is merely a contributing factor. The fact that Celie starts making pants for herself illustrates two moments of freedom- occupational and lifestyle.

Celie creates occupational freedom by making something for herself rather than for other people. This highlights the fact that she has obtained more individuality and is willing to assert herself. Freedom of lifestyle is achieved by wearing the pants that make Celie look more like a man. This portion of the novel traces Celie’s rise in power and strength as she creates a permanent life for herself. Her new relationship with life is manifest in the way she interacts with people and in the way she now writes her letters. The change in Celie also creates a change in many of the characters that look to her as a natural leader.

The way other people react to Celie is apparent; she is treated with respect and deference rather than people ignoring her. Celie now addresses her letters to Nettie rather than Celie, Celie now feels that she has somebody to listen to her. Gloria Steinam states, “ Celie changes from writing to God to Nettie because she must tell someone the truth and confirm her existence. Celie’s letters undergo a very gradual shift in style as well. For the first time, Celie starts to include some of her own opinions about things, opinions that are very sarcastic and insightful.

This injection of her thoughts into the letters helps to show the reader directly that Celie is growing as a person and taking on more depth as a character. The full empowerment of Celie arrives in full force at the end of the novel when Nettie returns to her and she has Shug by her side. Celie is now surrounded by a large group of people whom she loves. For her this is the greatest moment of her life, “ this is the youngest us ever felt” for Celie, having her family return and to finally be loved by other people is the equivalent of starting a new life. Thus the ending is really the beginning for Celie. Robert Towers criticises the realism of the novel and the number of co incidents that happen at the end for example, Nettie looking after Celie’s children after all these years and the happily ever after ending.

I think it is too much to believe that all those bad things could happen to one person and everything will be pieced together perfectly at the end. It is very unlikely that everything would go exactly according to how Celie had dreamt it The novel seems to be a protest against oppression, the story is like a fable in which Walker is trying to put a point across to people about the way blacks and black women are treated in the Southern states of America. We see the characters triumph over adversity and achieve independence; Celie shows this towards the end as she overcomes injustice, by leaving the men and seeking her path to independence. On one level the novel focuses on the experiences of black women in the early twentieth century. On another level the characters and their encounters are shown as individuals who triumph over oppression. The women in the novel are presented as victims of violence; they unite with each other and bond by communication.

These characteristics are represented in most of the characters such as Sofia overcoming the mayor’s wife by the support of her friends and Celie frees herself from Mr. This bonding helps women support and protect each other against oppression. Women find great strength and solidarity with each other. They may be powerless in the patriarchal society and in the household but when they integrate they become powerful allies, they also start to believe they deserve better and can work together to improve and stop oppression amongst women. Alice Walkers novel enables her to explore a full repertoire of relevant aspects; sex, emotions, and relevant confrontations.

In a different genre Margaret Atwood explores the plight of women; however the genre of poetry enables Atwood to explore this plight through a series of snapshots of women in various situations. Atwood’s poetry came to the fore within the 1980’s, at the time women legally had equal status to men, however women still struggled for respect in America and Canada. Women no longer imitated men but were glad of their feminine qualities and utilised these qualities wherever possible. Margaret Atwood was at the spearhead of the feminist movement; her poetry both grotesque and revolutionary was symbolic of her feminine mentality.

In Atwood’s “ A Woman’s Issue” there is great use of imperatives, instructions given to the reader, Atwood’s tone is stern and concise, almost confronting her own audience. You’ll notice that what they have in common is between the legs. Is this why wars are fought? ” It is a command for readers to pay attention to the corruption that goes on within a woman’s life. Atwood’s verse is affective as she gives attention to political and social issues, the use of “ wars” “ enemy territory” “ no mans land” we are all related to war as it has affected many peoples lives, within the 1980’s America took part in the Vietnam war. If Atwood can relate the poem to social and political issues it awakens and unites her audience. Atwood spoke up against the male dominated society and believed women were exploited for what they, “ had between the legs”.

In “ A Woman’s Issue” Atwood explores various scenarios of women throughout the ages being exploited by men, Atwood lists a number of examples, “ The woman in the spiked device……

is exhibit A. ” “ The woman in black with a net window…

…..

…..

.. is exhibit B. ” Exhibit C is the young girl” These snapshots compose a history of male culture, inflicting pain and discomfort on women.

The many snapshots emphasise the repetition of these sexual acts. Atwood uses grotesque images to help the reader visualise the pain suffered, “ The woman in the spiked device that locks around her waist and between the legs with holes in it like a tea strainer” The audience can visualise this device around the woman and empathise with how excruciating the pain must be for the woman. Atwood uses ambiguity within the same first stanza, “ a four-inch wooden peg jammed up between her legs so that she can’t be raped” The use of Atwood saying she “ cant be raped” may make the audience feel that it is of the benefit of the wooden to have this “ wooden peg jammed up” however it is for the good of her man, if she cannot be raped then this keeps her unruined. The woman therefore has to go through this discomfort so that her man does not lose his credibility that his wife is not pure. Atwood explores how men consider women to be mere subordinate, talking of women Atwood says, “ the ones that die are carefully buried” the use of ones instead of women shows that they are only considered to be a number, hence forgotten about quickly.

Atwood also says that the ones are, “ carefully buried” at first the reader may think it is showing sincerity towards death, however this is not he case and the reason why they are “ buried carefully” is in order for men to prevent anybody knowing about the crude scenarios that go on. In the next stanza Atwood explores a scenario of a woman, “ flat on her back while eighty men a night move through her” this is yet again grotesque imagery and the audience can visualise this scenario, which makes the verse all the more effective. Atwood then states that “ Nobody knows how she got there. ” This suggests that the way the woman is being treated is the only way she knows.

This draws comparison to Celie in the “ Color Purple” Celie knows nothing different from the way she is treated. Therefore because the women abused have this lack of knowledge, it allows her to be used sand abused by the male dominance. At the end of this poem Atwood brings in her own opinion and speaks up against the oppression, “ This is no museum, Who invented the word love” The use of “ no museum” means that the abusing of women still goes on today, if it was a “ museum” then the male dominance would be something in history that we could look back on, however it is something that is ever present. Who invented the word love” suggests that Atwood does not believe in love and the love that people speak of brings about the kind of scenarios which she has explored in “ A Woman’s Issue” Atwood speaks up against the pain caused and wants to see a stop to the male dominance; she provides a voice of inspiration and with a mere two lines at the end of the poem provides hope that women can overcome the oppression.

Atwood explores the plight of women through “ Half Hanged Mary” Atwood composes the poem chronologically exploring Mary’s state from 8pm to 8am. At 8pm we are introduced to why Mary is being hanged, “ once took blood in turn for food” Mary sees the men and how they are joyous at seeing a woman being hanged, “ excited by their joy of hate” Mary believes that she is symbolic of mans evil, of which they hold intrinsically, however Mary is falling victim to the same evil, the difference is that she shows the evil extrinsically, “ their own evil turned inside out like a glove, and me wearing it” Atwood shows how even the women come to look at one of their own dying, “ the bonnets come to stare, the dark skirts also” Atwood explores the discomfort of Mary being hanged, “ my throat taut against the rope” this is a paradox as it is indeed the rope that should be taut against her. “ I’m reduced to a knotted muscle. Blood bulges in my skull” We see the image of her whole body, and can feel the great pain ourselves through this imagery. Mary reveals the hypocrisy and corruption of the law, “ a judge muttering about sluts and punishment and licking his lips” This is symbolic of the male society, aiming to exploit the female prey.

Atwood even leads the audience through the physical discomfort of Mary,” To give up knowing. To give up pain. To let go. ” The sentences become shorter in order for the audience to empathise with Mary of her discomfort at even breathing, lines are shorter, tempting Mary to breathe properly, however if she does try and breathe properly she may die.

Mary compares her experience, with that of a religious experience, “ Did those men at Pentecost want flames to shoot out of their heads? Did they ask to be tossed around like holy poultry, eyeballs bulging? ” The use of assonance with “ holy poultry” makes the reader draw specific attention to this powerful phrase holy poultry suggests that Mary too is being made an example of, by religion. The audience again is led into the physical discomfort of Mary, there is no punctuation, this is to show the physical state of Mary she may be hallucinating, and images run into each other, “ wind seethes in the leaves around me the trees exude night birds yell inside my ears like stabbed hearts my heart stutters” Mary is in such an emotional wreck that she would rather have the physical state of her emotional trouble, “ I would like to say my hair turned white overnight, but it didn’t instead it was my heart bleached out like white meat” However even in her terrible state Mary still believes she will pull through, most will only have one death I will have two” Through this statement she is comparing herself to God, it is only her and God that have survived death, for that she is grateful and this marks her rise in overcoming oppression. She now changes in tone and is sarcastic and somewhat triumphant, ” Tough luck folks, I know the law; you can’t execute me twice for the same thing. How nice” “ I fell to the clover, breathed it in” Mary considers herself lucky.

After all the discomfort that she has experienced she is thankful that she is still alive, rather than revengeful for the pain she has practised. Mary now feels she is compared to God, “ My audience is God because who the hell else could understand me? Who else has been dead twice” Atwood shows how it is possible to rise above the oppression, Mary has suffered and has served an unjust punishment; however she has rose in the face of adversity in order to overcome suffering. Atwood uses Mary as an example of what the ideal woman should do to combat gender inequality. Atwood’s poems show the progression of women’s attitude, firstly they are experiencing male domination, and after enduring this exploitation they have the ability to speak out and rise above the oppression. Men use women’s gender against women to oppress them, it is not until women are allowed to realise that they are more than this that women are allowed to stop suffering.

However, in both the poetry and the novel the women have to endure great sexual punishment before they do realise that they are more than just objects. It is that sexual punishment that acts as a catalyst for women wanting to overcome the adversity. Even though both Celie and Mary rise above their oppression, the scars can be clearly seen of the punishment that has gone before them.

Thank's for Your Vote!
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 1
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 2
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 3
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 4
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 5
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 6
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 7
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 8
How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Page 9

This work, titled "How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems" was written and willingly shared by a fellow student. This sample can be utilized as a research and reference resource to aid in the writing of your own work. Any use of the work that does not include an appropriate citation is banned.

If you are the owner of this work and don’t want it to be published on AssignBuster, request its removal.

Request Removal

Cite this Essay

References

AssignBuster. (2021) 'How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems'. 31 December.

Reference

AssignBuster. (2021, December 31). How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems. Retrieved from https://assignbuster.com/how-walker-and-atwood-present-the-self-awakening-of-key-characters-within-the-colour-purple-and-margaret-atwood-poems/

References

AssignBuster. 2021. "How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems." December 31, 2021. https://assignbuster.com/how-walker-and-atwood-present-the-self-awakening-of-key-characters-within-the-colour-purple-and-margaret-atwood-poems/.

1. AssignBuster. "How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems." December 31, 2021. https://assignbuster.com/how-walker-and-atwood-present-the-self-awakening-of-key-characters-within-the-colour-purple-and-margaret-atwood-poems/.


Bibliography


AssignBuster. "How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems." December 31, 2021. https://assignbuster.com/how-walker-and-atwood-present-the-self-awakening-of-key-characters-within-the-colour-purple-and-margaret-atwood-poems/.

Work Cited

"How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems." AssignBuster, 31 Dec. 2021, assignbuster.com/how-walker-and-atwood-present-the-self-awakening-of-key-characters-within-the-colour-purple-and-margaret-atwood-poems/.

Get in Touch

Please, let us know if you have any ideas on improving How walker and atwood present the self awakening of key characters within the colour purple and margaret atwood poems, or our service. We will be happy to hear what you think: [email protected]