Discuss the idea of 'female voice' in The Color Purple.

Essay by valtanUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2008

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Alice Walker's The Colour Purple is undeniably a tasteful art of woman literature. Going against the conventional stereotypical representations of genders, Walker creates a powerful female voice in her novel to educate her readers about the multiple oppressions faced by the female African Americans and how the power of narrative and voice can be used to overturn this phenomenon. This essay will discuss how the idea of 'female voice' is weaved into the form and content of the novel.

In The Colour Purple, the 'female' voice is evident throughout the development of the novel in the form of Celie, the female protagonist and her sister, Nettie in first person narrations. The novel is told through an epistolary style, consisting of letters from Celie to God as well as letters to and from Nettie. Traditionally, the epistolary novel is used to teach proper female etiquette. However, in The Color Purple, Walker turned the table around to portray the ability of female empowerment to break away from traditional patriarchal control.1The

reader is brought closer to witness the transformation of Celie's character from a passive girl who accepts the initial gender, racial and class oppression against her, to her growing internal strength and finally her victory to empower herself to rise against all odds to become an independent woman in her own right. As a helpless victim, she is almost completely voiceless. Her only outlet to break this silence imposed on her was to write letters to God.2_____________________1 ( Goodman, 157 )2 SparkNotes.com. 2006 SparkNotes LLC. 15 Aug.2007 (http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/purple)Celie's intial letters consist of short and simple sentences using black vernacular English due to her inability to express her own feeling and lack of formal education. Using Black English filled with spelling errors like 'git', ' ast' and grammatical errors like the...