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Depictions of Women in The Color of Purple - Essay Example

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In this overview, she talks about the several political aspects of feminism that can be linked to theatre and other elements of feminist inquiry. Referring to Case's Feminism and Theatre and especially to Jill Dolan's The Feminist Spectator as Critic, Austin discusses the radical, cultural and materialist stages or divisions that fall within feminist analysis. Liberal feminism founded on universal values emphasizes women's equality with men; Cultural or radical feminism stresses the difference from and superiority to men and advocates the spirit of this within a 'female aesthetic'. While both 'radical' and 'cultural' have been used to explain this stage, Austin opts for the word 'radical' based on its political connotations. Materialist feminism contradicts the necessity and universalism of radical feminism by underscoring 'the function of class and experience in creating the oppression of women'. This latter approach maintains that women's experiences must be understood within their specific historical, economic and political context (Case 38). Just as, Austin invokes caution in 'making categories extremely powerful' when looking at the key work of feminist analysis, care is equally essential to these liberal, materialist or cultural divisions. This paper analyzes the author’s depiction of the female characters in the story using Gayle Rubin’s “exchange of women” theory, as expressed in Gayle Austin’s Feminist Theories for Dramatic Criticism. The Color Purple is a book by Alice Walker about racism, slavery, abuse and womanism. The story is based on the experiences of the author. Alice Walker’s description of a southern black woman in the story The Color Purple is extremely powerful. This is because Walker applies a variety of literary devices to the story, giving the story more impact. She uses symbolism, applies her tone as an author, and uses a certain dialect for her characters. The presence of symbolism in the book is not as glaring to the eye of the reader as one may think (Walker 264). Gayle Rubin (2011) referred to marriage as the traffic or exchange of women where women are taken in battle, sent as tribute, given in marriage, exchanged for favors, traded, purchased, and sold. Throughout time, women have always been an essential aspect of literature. They have inspired several writers, whether novelists, dramatists, essayists or poets. Unfortunately, these often illustrated men as the superior gender, and women a passive object that could not thrive on its own and could do nothing for itself. In literature, women could only survive through the lives, minds and eyes of men but rarely for themselves. In Le deuxieme sexe, Simone de Beauvoir states that women are differentiated and defined in relation to man; the woman is the other and he is the subject. Beautiful and submissive, they could never think for themselves. They were obliged to take a secondary place in the men's world, not because of their capacity but rather because of imposed social and cultural forces. This false and biased representation denied women their identity and even worse their dignity. The history of patriarchy shows a variety of injustices suffered by women. They represented, in a way, the disadvantaged group that had often been subject to male authority through male egocentrism and had been prevented from full development as human beings. Sexism, under patriarchy, ...Show more
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Name: Date: Depictions of Women in "The Color of Purple" As Gayle Austin argues in her Introduction to Feminist Theories for Dramatic Criticism, a feminist approach to anything means paying attention to women (Austin 297)…
Depictions of Women in The Color of Purple
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