Critical Essays on Alice Walker

By Ikenna Dieke | Go to book overview

toward the full development of one gender but toward the recuperation of male and female, toward the "survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female." Within its parameters, it encompasses love, joy, music, artistic pleasure, and, above all, the reattachment of humankind to a cosmogonic worldview where everything is part of everything else, a world that would give importance to all living creatures, big and small, for they are expressions of the divine. To Celie, who objects to Shug's use of It in referring to God, Shug replies:

don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't something you can look at apart form anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. (166-67)

It is Celie's conviction that she herself is part of God's design and forms one with all beings. This conviction will carry her in the final stage of her voyage of self-discovery. No longer a shadow in the light, she has rejoined the community of men and women; she has found herself, her own place in the great chain of being and is able to marvel at the creation, at life itself:

Now that my eyes are opening, I feels like a fool. Next to any little scrub of a bush in my yard, Mr.__________'s evil shor shrink. (168)

Celie's final letter is a song of glory, the revelation of a newfound harmony between the heroine, the universe within and without: "Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear Everything. Dear God," wrote Celie (242). And this is the true meaning of The Color Purple, which is a quest and a celebration, a song of sorrow and of joy, of birth, rebirth, and the redeeming power of love.


NOTE
1.
Alice Walker prefers the term womanist over feminist. According to the writer, it expresses more completely the totality of her being.

WORKS CITED

Beauvoir Simone de. The Second Sex. Trans. H. M. Parshely. New York: The Modern Library, 1968.

Blalock Hubert M. American Pluralism. Ed. William M. Newman. New York: Harper, 1973.

Sartre Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness. Trans. Hazel E. Barnes. New York: Pocket Books, 1956.

Walker Alice. "Alice Walker Is a Free Woman". Sojourner, January 1983: 13-14.

_____. In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.

_____. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982.

Weiss Frederick A. "Self-Alienation: Dynamism and Therapy". Man Alone. Ed. Eric and Mary Josephon. New York: Dell, 1962.

-107-

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