This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Intersection Of Race, Class, Gender And Sexuality Define Social Positions In Alice Walkers The Color Purple

1686 words - 7 pages

Sedgewick observes, one’s social position is affected by various axis of classification such as gender, sexuality, race, class and the interplay of these social identities. In The Color Purple by Alice walker, Sedgewick’s observations ring true. Celie, the main character in Walker’s novel, is a perfect example of these observations put forth by Sedgewick. Celie’s social position is indicative of her gender, sexuality, race, and class; as a Black woman living in Georgia in 1910 to 1940, one can expect to witness the general ‘acceptable’ racism present within the novel towards people of color. Despite the ‘acceptable’ racism, the novel accentuates the hardships and struggles the women of color in this novel have to go through. The social positions of the characters, more so Celie and Sofia, in Walker’s The Color Purple are based on the social identities of their gender, race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity.
Alice Walker’s The Color Purple takes place in Georgia from 1910 to 1940. During this time racism was easily visible and apparent in society. Black people were seen as lesser beings in contrast to their white counterparts. However, not only are all of the colored characters within The Color Purple forced, by means of oppression, into their social positions because they are not white, but also because some of them are women, lesbian, and lower class. As Crenshaw explains, “[b]ecause of their intersectional identity as both women and of color within discourses that are shaped to respond to one or the other, women of color are marginalized within both” (Crenshaw 5). Celie, the main character in the novel, is given enormous adult responsibility from a young age. After the death of her mother, she is pulled out of school in order to raise her younger siblings. Not only is Celie deprived of an education at the hands of her stepfather; she is also victim to his sexual desire.
Kimberle Crenshaw states in “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color”: “Many women of color, for example, are burdened by poverty, child care responsibilities, and the lack of job skills. These burden[‘s are] largely [considered to be] the consequence of gender and class oppression” (Crenshaw 6-7). Due to Celie already coming from a low income poor family, and getting pulled out of school in order to raise her brothers and sisters, she is not given an opportunity to continue with school in order to get an education, and eventually a good paying job. Even though Celie’s stepfather is oppressed because he’s Black, Celie is more oppressed because she’s a Black woman: when Celie’s teacher went to the house in attempt to get Celie’s father to allow Celie to go back to school, “she see how tight my dress is, she stop talking and go” (Walker 10). Celie has no control over her social position; she is subordinate to the even most oppressive race and class.
Not only is Celie in a social position that forces her to be the ‘lesser’...

Find Another Essay On Intersection of Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality define Social Positions in Alice Walkers The Color Purple

The Intersection of Race, Class and Gender with Underemployment and Poverty in Four Mississippi Delta Counties by Antoinette Jones: A Critique

940 words - 4 pages Underemployment and Poverty has always been one of many of the United States’ down falls. Some areas of the U.S endure this burden more than others. The Mississippi Delta is one of these areas. It has endured this burden for as long as one can remember. Poverty is usually caused by ethnicity, level on the social system and by a person’s gender. Antoinette Jones’ book, The Intersection of Race, Class and Gender with Underemployment and Poverty in

Life Struggles and Themes in Alice Walker's The Color Purple

2824 words - 11 pages named Zora Neale Hurston, who made a great influence on Walkers later life. Later in her life she edited one of her fiction called “ I love myself when I am laughing”(Janet Witalec). Further on in her career, she wrote“ The Color Purple” which was brought to audience in 1982, as she became a famous named author. She then, received an award called Pulitzer Prize and the movie by Steven Spielberg, which brought her both fame and

Alice Walker's The Color Purple

2479 words - 10 pages Alice Walker’s acclaimed novel The Color Purple narrates the story of two sisters in the form of letters. Separated early on, Celie and Nettie live their lives continents apart, maintaining hope that one day they will be reunited. While Celie remains in the rural American South, Nettie becomes a missionary in Western Africa and spends most of her life with the Onilak tribe. Africa plays an integral role in The Color Purple because it shows that

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

2789 words - 11 pages : Caste, class and Gender in Contemporary Indian Women’s Writing. New Delhi. Sarup and Sons, 2003. Print. Walker, Alice. The Color Purple, New York: Pocket Books, 1982. Print. ---The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult. London: Phoenix, 2005. Print.

Alice Walker's The Color Purple

2650 words - 11 pages Rape, incest, sex, forced labor, and a little reefer on the side. These are all of the components of a novel by Alice Walker. All of these views are illustrated proficiently in Alice Walker’s third novel, “The Color Purple.” Each one of these aspects had a lasting impression upon the ideals and notions of the time. Walker's writing's helped to break the racial barrier that existed in some people's minds. One way that the barrier was

Alice Walker's "The Color Purple"

1156 words - 5 pages Few have taken the road of life without crossing a river of struggles. For most, life revolves around hardships and struggles. How one handles a struggle often defines a human being. A refusal to struggle is a refusal to live. Surrender and submission are the easy way out. Life requires something deep within the human heart to bring out the ability to fight. In The Color Purple, Alice Walker uses a weak, battered individual named Celie to

Influences That Shape Gender Roles in The Color Purple by Alice Walker

727 words - 3 pages the past and the present. However, gender roles were a bigger issue in the past. Men were seen as superior to women. More specifically, I’d like to focus on gender roles that convey male dominance. The superior roles of men are prominent in many works of literature that I am associated with such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker. In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, gender roles are one of the more interesting concepts. One way to view the

Ugliness and Beauty in Alice Walker's Color Purple

2572 words - 10 pages Ugliness and Beauty in Walker's The Color Purple           When I finished The Color Purple, I cried. I was deeply touched by the story and all of the issues that it addressed. One interrelated theme that reiterates throughout the novel is that of ugliness and beauty. Celie represents ugliness, and Shug Avery illustrates beauty. The most prominent way that the struggle between ugliness and beauty presents itself in the novel is through

“Feminine Narrative” in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

1687 words - 7 pages Gender: Femininity as Affect and Effect in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple”, analyzes the usefulness of the novel’s narration approaches, focusing on the meaning of Nettie’s letters to Celie and especially the fairy-tale unity in Celie’s last letter. Using The Color Purple as illustrated example, refusing to consider the accounts of gender and sexuality, the author suggests that the applications of culture’s “feminine mythologies” in the novel

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple And Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

1259 words - 5 pages enforced in three different ways; physical abuse, emotional abuse, and social demands and/or expectations. Although both books have opposite cultural and racial factors that influence the way in which the women in the books are treated, we can still see that these three ways of silencing women are present. In Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”, the form of patriarchal silencing that is most prominent is the violent physical and emotional abuse. Also

Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple

1495 words - 6 pages from him. Works Cited Abbandonato, Linda. "A View From Elsewhere: Subversive Sexuality and the Rewriting of the Heroine's Story in The Color Purple." PMLA 106 (1991): 1106-15. Berlant, Lauren. "Race, Gender, and Nation in The Color Purple." Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 831-59. Bobo, Jacqueline. "Sifting through the Controversy: Reading The Color Purple." Callaloo 12 (1989): 332-42. Butler-Evans, Elliott. Race, Gender, and Desire

Similar Essays

Social Positions As Product Of Race, Gender And Class

1084 words - 5 pages As Sedgewick observes, one’s social position is affected by various axis of classification such as gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity and the interplay of these social identities. In The Color Purple by Alice walker, Sedgewick’s observations ring true. Celie, the main character in Walker’s novel, is a perfect example of these observations put forth by Sedgewick. Celie’s social position is indicative of her gender, sexuality, race, and

Race, Gender, And Nation In The Color Purple

2037 words - 8 pages , “where one can have it all” (hooks 464). Works Cited Berlant, Lauren. “Race, Gender and Nation in The Color Purple”. Critical Inquiry 14.4 (Summer 1988): 831-859. University of Chicago Press. JSTOR. Web. 19 Nov 2011. hooks, bell. Ain’t I A Woman: black women and feminism. Boston MA: South End Press, 1989. Print. --- Talking Back: thinking feminist. thinking black. Boston MA: South End Press, 1989. Print. ---“Reading and Resistance

Political Critique Of Race Relations In Alice Walker's Color Purple

2238 words - 9 pages )     Works Cited   Abbandonato, Linda. "A View From Elsewhere: Subversive Sexuality and the Rewriting of the Heroine's Story in The Color Purple." PMLA 106 (1991): 1106-15.   Bell, Bernard. The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1987.   Berlant, Lauren. "Race, Gender, and Nation in The Color Purple." Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 831-59.   Bobo, Jacqueline

Gender In The Color Purple Essay

1807 words - 7 pages , they were just an additional possession in a man's collection. In most occasions women would also be seen as slaves, due to the fact that women were being obligated to do many things. They were forced to have sex and were physically abused among other things. The female figures in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple were a perfect example of women being dominated by men, women who tried to go against men and women who tried to get away from