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Compare and Contrast How Alice Walker and Emily Dickenson Portray the Role of Women in Your Two Core Texts. in the Course of Your Writing, Show How Your Ideas Have Been Illuminated by Your Response to ‘Cat on a Hot Tin

  • Date Submitted: 05/06/2010 03:53 PM
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Compare and contrast how Alice Walker and Emily Dickenson portray the role of women in your two core texts. In the course of your writing, show how your ideas have been illuminated by your response to ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and by other readings of both core texts.

The portrayal and role of women is central to Alice Walker’s novel ‘The Color Purple’ and also has strong links with Emily Dickenson’s poetry. Alice Walker experienced much pain and suffering, growing up as a black woman in the deep south of America, an area where racial prejudice and lack of gender quality was seemingly inescapable, in which she portrays this mistreatment through her central protagonist, Celie. Dickenson, who lived during the 1800s in the USA, would have also experienced prejudice against her due to her gender, as this was pre-feminist age.
From the opening words of Walker’s ‘Color Purple’, the patriarchal society and abuse that is inflicted on Celie is displayed to the reader. Celie writes in a child-like fashion with phonetic expression due to her lack of education, her deprivation due to Alphonso, a man who she believes to be her father. “You too dumb to keep going to school”. The reader is also immediately made aware of her suffering under the hand of Alphonso. “First he put his thing up against my hip, and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold of my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry” She is mistreated and exploited, which wouldn’t have happened if she were a boy. Walker uses blunt and shocking language to demonstrate the abuse and violence that Celie suffers. Celie's story is depicted as one of rape, battery and separation from family. Many of the other women suffer such as Sofia.

In Dickinson’s poem “Behind this soft eclipse’ a negative view on men is shown there is a metaphor for one heavenly body being blocked out by another, like women of the era being blocked or suppressed by men, and only seen suitable for domestic roles....

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