The Color Purple:
How Walkers manipulation of Celie’s voice conveys male attitudes and how women respond to them (letter 12)
Walker’s extensive use of lexical choice, structure and characterisation conveys powerful views related to racism and prejudice. Throughout the novel Celie’s voice is dominant in reflecting such views from the perspective of a women; this is a dramatic contrast to one of which from a man. This is an important aspect to keep in mind as it helps us to understand the attitudes portrayed towards women at this time. From the extract, letter 12, we are able to see a segment of the novel of which perfectly portrays how women are treated within society and the male attitude towards this. We see this violent and possessive attitude shown toward all women expressed by Mr.___ to not only Celie but to his sister as well, Kate.
It is glaringly conspicuous that Kate is that much more of a stronger character than Celie is and we are clearly able to ...view middle of the document...
This is something that Celie would be used to as she has had to put up with it all of her life, therefore more often than not disrespect and violence goes unsaid.
Celie then continues to say ‘He look at me. It like he looking at the earth’. The earth, a connotation of dirt, is used to describe Celie as something of no value but to just serve a purpose. The earth beneath Mr.___’s feet is of the same value as Celie is to him. This degrading image showing the lack of importance of women is also shown earlier in the novel when Pa is offering Celie to Mr.___. Walker explains how he was sat upon a horse with the sun behind his head, blinding Celie. Not only does this show that he is physically higher up that Celie is but it shows that he has more power over her, just because she is a woman. The sun blinding her is also an important concept to consider. The sun behind his head creates this image that he is almost God like, powerful and strong. And it is this power in fact that is blinding Celie, hurting and oppressing her. This patriarchal society has a direct negative effect on women of which is continually expressed in various ways throughout the novel.
Male dominance is not something of which is practiced in only the older men but is something which is learnt from a young age, expressed to us through the attitudes of Mr.___’s son, Harpo. Kate explains that Harpo is old enough and should be helping Celie with the chores but reflecting this idea within their society of male dominance this would be seen as Celie’s job and even though Harpo is still a young lad he has already adopted this view. He states ‘women work. I’m a man.’ This clear and defined segregate view has already been ingrained into the young man at a tender age. An argument then takes place between Mr.___ and Kate, resulting in Kate leaving with her words to follow to Celie that she should fight back to Mr.___ but she sees no good in fighting back. This passive response to such violence is a representation of how women just accept such behaviours toward them. This argument demonstrates the conflicting views of dominance between men and women and the fact that Kate leaves in tears shows that men always have the upper-hand and win, portraying the way their society works as a whole.