During this seclusion from other kids her age, Walker began to write poems. Hence, her career as a writer began. Despite this tragedy in her life and the feelings of inferiority, Walker received a "rehabilitation scholarship" to attend Spelman College (a college for black women). There she became involved in civil rights demonstrations where she spoke out against the silence of the institution's curriculum when it came to African-American culture and history. Her involvement in such activities led to her dismissal from the college. So she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York and had the opportunity to travel to Africa as an exchange student. Upon her return, she received her bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, in 1965 Walker moved to Mississippi and became involved in the civil rights movement. She also began teaching and publishing short stories and essays. She married in 1967, but the couple divorced in 1976 (Winchell 23-28). Walker's first book of poetry, "Once", appeared in 1968 - it includes works written during the early 1960's while she attended Sarah Lawrence College. Some of these pieces relate the confusion, isolation , and suicidal thoughts Walker experienced. During her Senior year she was pregnant and had to deal with the stressful time that followed. "Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems" (1973) was Walker's second volume of poems, in this she addressed such topics as love, individualism, and revolution. Her recent poems express the ideas of races, gender, environment, love, hate and suffering, the same topics she writes about in her novels (Kramer 144).
Her first novel, "The Third Life of Grange Copeland" (1970), started what has become Walker's "trademark themes" of sexuality and life within Black communities: particularly the domination of powerless women by equally powerless men. In this novel, which spans the years between the Depression and the beginnings of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Walker showed three generations of a black sharecropping family and explored the effects of poverty and racism on their lives. Because of his sense of failure, Grange Copeland leads his wife to suicide and abandons his children to seek a better life in the North. His traits are passed on to his son, Brownsfield, who in time murders his wife. In the end of the novel, Grange returns to his family a broken yet compassionate man and attempts to make up for all the hurt he has caused in the past with the help of his granddaughter, Ruth. While some people accused Walker of reviving stereotypes about the dysfunctional black family, others praised her use of intensive, descriptive language in creating believable characters (Gates, Appiah 137).
Another widely cited work of this period by Alice Walker is "Everyday Use" (1973), which tells the story of Maggie and Dee, two sisters, who were brought up in the same environment, by the same woman, in the same home. However, Maggie is awkward and unattractive, while Dee is confident and attractive. Maggie is content with her simple life, while Dee wants to have fine things. Maggie is nervous and intimidated by Dee, who is bold and selfish. Here, the author is saying that art should be a living, breathing part of the culture it arose from, rather than a frozen timepiece to be observed from a distance. To make this