The Color Purple is a novel originally written in English by an American author Alice Walker. As an American writer, her works mainly novels, poems, and short stories are notable for their treatment of African American culture. The Color Purple among her other books is notable for their focus on women. Published in the year 1982, it came out as one of the best works. It focuses mainly on an African American woman who struggles for empowerment, although she is uneducated and abused. Alice Walker's novel, the color purple praises primarily came from its emphasis on women characters and its use of English vernacular mainly used by blacks. After its publication, the novel won an award in 1983, Pulitzer Prize. This paper aims to point out the differences and similarities among the cultures mentioned in the novel, discuss the gender in the quality of life for people in the various cultures in the novel. The paper also aims at the impact of the modern values on the people in the cultures mentioned in the novel.
Culture as a central theme in the novel The Color Purple is prevalent in several cases. As in many books, cultural aspects are reflected by characters, origins, beliefs, and the way they are used in different storylines. At all times, many people will always try as hard as they can to make sure they preserve their cultures. Regardless of their origin or background, people will be more than willing and ready to keep some part of their culture. Interestingly, they will even try to spread and maintain it even when they go to new places. As depicted in the novel, families in the south have a different way of living, a culture they have developed by themselves. The author paints this picture through the use of various methods. Culture as a central theme in the novel doesn't vary in any way on the side of the character to character, but it does change depending on the part of the universe where it is being described. Black peoples culture is emphasized much in south American. Dialect is one of the aspects that shows a difference in culture. Celie does her writing as an uneducated black woman. This is seen when the letters she wrote are compared to those written by Nettie. The way Celie writes reflect precisely the way they used to speak then. The way she talks is not what would be considered proper today. "I don't write to God no more." This makes it hard for the reader to understand, for example, when she says "teef" instead of "teeth" (Walker, 19).
On the other hand, the letters written by Nettie are well written with proper grammar, punctuated, and easy for the reader to understand. Despite the two characters, Nettie and Celie, growing together, Celie's culture differs from that one of Nettie's. Their lives further divide apart when Celie got married, and Nettie moved away. The Olinka tribe in Africa portrays another significant cultural difference. The blacks seem to have a different culture. Although the Olinka's are a tribe from Africa, they have a complete culture from the blacks who reside in America (Walker, 75). One issue raised is that of gender responsibilities (Walker, 110). Black Females in Africa are said to have fewer choices when compared to those living in America. This is brought by the fact that part of the Olinka culture educates boys only. This leaves the girls with the only option of doing household chores as expected by the community.
Gender in the Quality of Life for People in Various Cultures
The issue of gender is impacting on the quality of life, as reflected in the novel The Color Purple. There seem to be gender troubles in Alice Walker's novel. These troubles affect the quality of life for the characters in the novel. Black women, in particular, experience a lot of dual oppression. There are three main protagonists with different sexual orientation, homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality. For example, Celie quality of life is affected when her father rapes her. She gives birth to two babies who are later sold by her father. The girl is also forced to marry Mr. Albert, but the man marries her so that she can take care of his family. When Mr. Albert failed to rape Nettie, she kicks her out of the house. After Celie experiences molestation by her father, she opts to distance with men. She ends up developing a cold attitude regarding men, and her father continually tells her she is ugly (Walker, 102). He tells her, "you got the ugliest smile in the world." She loses confidence in herself, and this makes Celie identify herself as an ugly powerless woman. Women are maltreated in the novel as represented by Celie being mistreated by Mr. Albert, and this affects her way and quality of life. This is because her father sold her children, and Mr. Albert always rules his family predominantly by beating and abusing her (Walker, 35). She was deprived of her identity as a mother by her father and her identity as a wife by her husband, Mr. Albert.
Men's quality of life seems to be better. They are the center and role makers in their families. Surprisingly, this is a tradition which is accepted by all people. Men appear as the beneficiaries of a patriarchal social system, although they are sometimes the victims too as in the case where a father wants to take control of their son's lives.
Impact of Modern Values on People in Various Cultures
Values reflect how we relate to society, and they may include respect, freedom, responsibility, justice, among others. In the modern world, many parts of society do not practice a lot of values. There is a rise in racial, gender, cultural, ethnic-based discrimination. This is further worsened by power abuse and greed. Values keep fading from one generation to the next, and this is likely to happen even for the future generations to come. In various cultures, modern values impact on people in one way or the other. In the novel violence, especially against is spread wide, and the police are aware of it, but they ignore (Walker, 2). In modern times, it is rare for perpetrators of violence to be let free both in the military and civilian life.
In many cultures, this has positively impacted many women lives. Discrimination has also been fought within modern times, either based on gender, ethnicity, race, or disability. These have solved many problems as one is given a chance to exploit their capabilities regardless of their status or limitations.
The novel The Color Purple emphasizes more on women who face a lot of discrimination due to their cultural backgrounds and also the norms of society. The quality of life of a person is affected because of one's gender. For example, women face a lot of struggles, such as rape and beatings, in their marriages. Different cultures are impacted in various ways by the modern values which exist in those societies.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1982.
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