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Autobiography In The Fiction Of Alice Walker

1161 words - 5 pages

When reading Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and “Everyday Use,” it is evident that she writes about her life through her use of allegory. Alice Walker uses the events of her childhood, her observation of the patriarchy in African American culture, and her rebellion against the society she lived in to recount her life through her stories. Alice Walker grew up in a loving household in the years towards the end of the Great Depression. Although her family was poor, they were rich in kindness and perspective and taught Walker a lot about her heritage and life.
Alice Walker recounts the events of her childhood in some of her stories. When she was eight years old, her brother accidentally shot her in the eye with a BB gun while they were playing a game. The physical result was that Walker lost the sight in her right eye, which developed a disfiguring white scar. The psychological result was that she became self conscious and introspective. She modeled the character Maggie, from “Everyday Use,” after this. Alice Walker wrote about Maggie as a direct relation to her early life. The character Maggie was in a house fire that the reader perceives to be set by her sister, Dee. Maggie’s scars and shyness mirror how Walker’s scar made her feel unattractive and unconfident after she received her wound due to her brother’s actions. When she lied for her brothers so they could avoid getting in trouble, she felt guilty and pained for agreeing to lie. “It was very much like a rape (Walker).” Walker refers to this event in her life as a rape and refers to this in her writing of “The Color Purple.” Celie was raped by who she thinks is her father many times and is impregnated by him twice. Although Alice Walker was not physically raped, she writes about how she felt like she was raped emotionally through the character of Celie. While Walker uses allegory to write about her life and show how she feels about society, she also uses her observations of the patriarchal society she lived in to achieve her purpose.
Walker’s observations of the patriarchal society she lived in influenced her writings a great deal. She listened to stories about her heritage from her grandfather whom was very violent towards her grandmother (Edemariam). She modeled the character “Mr.___” after her violent grandfather who, as Walker said, “chased her grandmother through the fields shooting at her; missing only because he was drunk.” Mr.___ abused Celie a lot throughout her childhood and Walker used the character Celie to write about the patriarchal society that she lived in. Celie was very dependent on both her father and Mr.___ in the beginning of the novel, but experiences an awakening that makes her realize she can be an independent woman. This mirrors how Walker was a conformist for some of her life, and then became very independent and proactive in portraying this initiative to other women. Alice Walker had much respect for independent women, and this was evident in “Everyday Use.”...

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