Men and women are portrayed rather unfairly in The Colour Purple by Alice Walker. Men are characterized as these “sexually hyperactive and dominant idiots,” that view women through the same lens. In other books we have read, such as The Awakening, or A Doll’s House, there are always specific gender roles the characters live by. Similar to this book, women are supposed to clean, cook, and look after children, and then men are supposed to provide for the family. The novel is full of predictable patterns, toxic relationships, women being enlightened, an awakening, and a shift of tone from suffrage to inspirational. However, why do men and women think differently?
“You got to fight them, Celie. I can’t do it for you. You got to fight them for yourself” (21). “Beat her” (36). The males try to physically harm women to make them “mind,” violence isn’t the answer to relationships! It makes me wonder how their upbringing differs. Women have a strong sense of justice, whereas men are greedy for power, authority, and acknowledgement. “I don’t fight Sofia battle. My job to love her and take her where she want to go” (81). The prizefighter is content with himself. He is not trying to be dominant, Sofia’s relationship with him is natural and ordinary. Was the prizefighter taught to respect women, unlike Mr.__ who was taught brutality? Harpo is influenced by his father and the types of relationships he has, i.e.., abusive. Something I find very unrealistic in this novel is the way affairs have been normalized. There is rarely any jealousy displayed when one of the characters is having an affair with someone. Basically suggesting that cheating is natural and no one minds.
Even though my blood boiled while reading this book, the character development is remarkable, and I ended up enjoying the last bit of the novel. If I’d have to summarize this book in a sentence, it would be, “things change, people grow.”