I, in this paper, explore application of Knowles and Mezirow’s theories in the film, ‘The Color Purple’ through identification of a character that depicts adult learning, description of the character’s learning, analysis of what caused the character to learn and exploration of the theories applicability to the character’s learning. …
Description of the character’s learning
The film identifies its narrator, Celie, as an uneducated woman who is oppressed by her stepfather who rapes her, makes her pregnant and then steals her children. She writes letters to communicate to God but she maintains a passive role in her life as she submits to abuses under her stepfather and later from her husband. Her learning develops from a naïve uneducated woman to an informed woman who knows of herself worth and can take a stand to defend her position and ideas. She initially assumed little control over her life and environment and a quiet and invisible position for survival, as is evident in her passive position towards her abusive stepfather and her husband. Celie’s learns through her interaction with Shug Avery, a music icon who is beautiful and have potentials to achieve her objectives. Avery stimulates Celie’s development and allows Celie to unwind her history to gain sexual, spiritual and voice empowerment. Avery also succeeds in exposing Celie to new perspectives from which Celie can develop new insights about live. An example of such exposure is in religion in which Avery exposes Celie to a new form of God who is not traditional and one who treats people as equals regardless of their gender. Avery also helps Celie to discover Nettie’s previous letters. The letters informs her of her history and empowers her to comprehend her thoughts and emotions towards independence and she is able to protest against her husband’s oppressive acts. Celie also learns, through her interaction with Avery, of self-actualization potential and succeeds in developing a sewing enterprise from an assumed position of a part time activity for women who only perform domestic roles, to a profitable and established business that also gains her financial independence from her husband (Walker). The scope of Celie’s learning identifies the role of a moderator as Celie adopts an active learning approach in the process. In her interaction with Avery, Avery does not instruct Celie on what to do, neither does she tell her how to conduct herself, but the two women undergo the learning process together. Avery, for example, prod Celie’s past that allows Celie to develop spiritual and sexual aspects. Avery’s narrations also empower Celie and with the help of Avery, Celie discovers Nettie’s letters that lead Celie to new knowledge about her past and her children. Interaction with Avery also empowers Celie to self-actualization and the change in perspectives and capacity occurs through Celie’s active interaction with Avery’s world and her experience to transform her life and perception on life (Walker). Factors that caused the character to learn The film identifies interaction between Celie and Avery as the immediate reason for Celie’s learning. Factors into the learning can however be explored through Mezirow’s transformational learning theory and through Knowles’ theoretical based assumptions on adult learning. Knowles’ assumptions explain motivational factors as a cause of Celie’s learning. Knowles explains that learning is continuous and can occur at any age, aspect that allows Celie to learn at an elderly stage. Her ability to direct herself in learning, subject to Knowles self-concept assumption, is one of the factors that empowered Celie to learn from her interaction w ...
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