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Novels - Book Report/Review Example

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Celie, the protagonist of The Color Purple, is a black woman suffered from oppression and violence of her father. The introduction of the black community serves two purposes in the text. First, it reinforces the image of Celie as both maverick and heroic figure. As a fair-complexioned black, she chooses to identify with ordinary blacks. "There are colored people in the world who want us to know! Want us to grow and see the light! They are not all mean like Pa and Albert, or beaten down like ma was" (Walker 109). Mabel Waring, the main character of The New Dress, is a middle-aged woman suffers from social alienation and rejection of the society she wants to join. This depiction of Mabel resonates with larger battle with her contemporaries in that it addresses, at least indirectly, the absurdity of denying one's identity and seeking total absorption into 'high' culture.
Rebellion against the society is the main theme which helps both author to depict strong personalities of Mabel and Celie. Walker moves the text from its major focus, Celie's coming to womanhood and self-awareness, to the oppressive relationship between the Black community and the white community. Again the novel, inserting an alternative discourse, transgresses its predetermined narrative boundaries. The response replicates earlier reactions to Celie's digressions from community mores, the response of the citizenry to her rebellion, and her initial romantic involvement. Essentially different here is the construction of the entire community as a single voice, the reification and objectification of communal opposition. The intolerance of the community to women, especially Celie, who depart from its codes of acceptable conduct is thereby reinforced. Celie rebels against her father and Mr.___, the society and Shug Avery. Nettie comments: "The world is changing. It is no longer a world just for boys and men," when telling Tashi's father why women's education is so important" (Walker 87). Mabel is faced with social conflict, and intolerance in the community which appears to disrupt the unity, but they represent narrative ruptures generated by an attempt to structure an ideological position from gender concerns. The society does not to want to accept her. She saw herself like that -- she was a fly, but the others were dragonflies, butterflies, beautiful insects, dancing, fluttering, skimming, while she alone dragged herself up out of the saucer" (Woolf 1994). The epistolary form of The Color Purple and short story genre of the New Dress help readers to follow ideas and themes described by the authors. Central to their strategy is a self-construction that begins with the realization that they are divided between two frames: a politics of high society that often suppresses issues of class location, and a politics of gender that marginalizes these issues. The peculiar narrative becomes a vehicle for synthesis and the construction of a new social vision.
Woolf and Walker skillfully use the point-of-view strategy to unveil conformity and compliance of the main characters with social norms and values. Walker's novel is told from Celie's point of view, a black girl suffered from violence and physical abuse of her father. The shift in narrative away from Celie to her conduct undermines the characterization of her as a strong person. Celie says: "You a low down dog is what's wrong. It's time to leave you and enter into ...Show more


The novel The New Dress by Virginia Woolf and The Color Purple by Alice Walker depict hardship and grievances faced by women characters. The description of the community's approval and envy indicate that women are describing a culture in which violence against women is normal…
Author : gerdman
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