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The Sociological Criticism Of Alice Walker

1786 words - 7 pages

The definition of sociology is the study of society. Social criticism is the practice of analyzing a literary work by examining the cultural, political and economical context in which it was written or received. Alice Walker’s work demonstrates this type criticism very well; from The Color Purple to Everyday Use, or any of her earlier short stories. The majority of her work reveals the struggle of African Americans in society, especially women. Furthermore, her stories mirror a lot of the social characteristic that were taking place in America, from the 1940’s on; thus, making Alice Walker the epitome of sociological criticisms.
According to the bibliography portion of “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, Alice was born in Georgia and attended Spellman College before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Her first work was a book of poetry that was published while she was still in college. She moved to Mississippi and became a teacher and a civil rights activist. Walker’s work is known for highlighting the struggle of African American women during her time and in the past.
One of the most popular works by Walker was, The Color Purple. In this Alice Walker story, the reader meets a girl named Celie. In this novel, Walker takes the reader on a journey through much of Celie’s life. While taking the reader through this tale, Walker draws attention to a number of social aspects during this time period. Through Cilie’s life, Walker brings to light the abuse and mistreatment of African American women from 1910 through the 1940’s. “Women were also regarded as less important than men-both Black and white Black women doubly disadvantage. Black women of the era were often treated as slaves or as property” (Tavormina page 233). In this text one can see the social standing regarding women of color during that time. This emphasizes the social aspect of gender inequality that most women suffered in society.
The color purple, also deals with a number of social criticisms of black men in that time period. One can see this through Mr., who is seen as Cilie’s tormenter in most of the story. Moreover, by writing “Mr.” Walker effectively captures the crudeness of men in regards to women during her time. “African American men in modern society. Such commentators have condemned these portrayals as unnecerally negative, citing the vile unsympathectic male characters such as Mr.” (Tavormina page 234). This story, gives an interesting look into the cultural aspect of African American males in society. The tale allowed the reader to see what was considered an acceptable way for men to treat their wives and daughters during those days.
The Color Purple also deals with the societal facet of racism. In the south where racism was much worst then any where else, Alice would have been remised if she had not addressed it. One can see the evidence of racism largely through her character Sofia’s story. In The Color Purple Sofia was a strong black women,...

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