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alice Walker

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Andria Wing

on 21 April 2014

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Transcript of alice Walker

alice Walker
Background
Thesis
Alice Walker went through many different phases in her life. These different phases are further revealed in her different works of literature, specifically her poems titled, "Our Martyr", "Torture", "Word Reaches Us", and "I Will Keep Broken Things".
OUr Martyr
"Our Martyr," a poem by Alice Walker, depicts Alice's view of Martin Luther King Jr. In "A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." by Alice Walker, she describes how he influenced her life by being courageous for standing up to their rights. The poem starts off by referencing a "martyr" which is referring to Martin Luther King, Jr. He brought forth "something unknown" to the world, and started the civil rights movement. The narrator describes that "the blood has dried and become rose pedals," telling the reader that the fight was worth it because the blood that has been shed has led to victory. "They never frown" refers to how "His whole body, like his conscience, was at peace." The narrator finishes the poem with how they are still "within us" in our heart to always be remembered. As a whole, the poem was written about a martyr who should never be forgotten in our hearts, that did the unbelievable.
Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia. After graduating from high school in 1961 as the school's valedictorian and prom queen, Walker entered Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. In Spelman she was heavily involved with the civil rights demonstrations, such as participating in “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” where she heard King’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963. She was even invited to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home in 1962 in recognition of her attendance at the Youth World Peace Festival. After two years at Spelman she moved to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In the summer of 1966 she returned to Mississippi, where she met a white civil rights law student named Mel Leventhal and they soon married. They were probably one of the first interracial couple in Mississippi and, as a result, had to deal with constant streams of violence. She completed her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, in 1969, the same year that her daughter, Rebecca Grant, was born. When her marriage to Leventhal ended in 1977, Walker moved to northern California. In 1972 she accepted a teaching position at Wellesley College, where she created one of the first women’s studies courses in the nation, a women’s literature course. In 1984 Walker published her third volume of poetry, Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful. Alice grew up in an environment of violent racism which, along with her family's poverty, and civil rights demonstrations, left a permanent impression on her writing
Word Reaches Us
In the poem "Word Reaches Us" by Alice Walker, it sheds light on the women that tried to teach the world about feminism. The era of feminism began prominently in the nineteenth century, where "these women were not to be stopped. Fired by a sense of social justice, a belief in equal rights and a desire to contribute to community life, they challenged the injustice of a system" (Cadden). Walker establishes a character in her poem as the one who stood up for women's rights, and have fallen in consequence. "Word reaches us that you are sleeping" can be taken that the "you" is actually dead (Walker). It goes on to explain for what reason this person died, "you teach us many things..." which paints the picture that this person died doing what they believe in (Walker). "Thank you for reminding us through your suffering" displays that other people are touched by this event and is grateful that change is coming because this person had the bravery to stand up against the currents (Walker). In the last six lines, "Sister, whom I've never met..." describes the admiration of the narrator for a person she's never seen but has heard of (Walker). This poem in itself is written to portray the fallen hero of feminism, the one who tried so hard to make things right but was squashed in the end.
I Will Keep Broken Things
In Alice Walker’s poem “I Will Keep Broken Things”, the reader can see Walker going through a low stage in her life. It is known that Walker did go through a divorce and this poem has some insight that this poem is the telling of her experience during that time period (Alice Walker). Lines like, “I will keep broken things: The memory of those long delicious night swims with You;” It is clear that Walker is in a time period of reflection, recalling events and memories and how they made her feel. She is at a time period in her life where she is having to cope with loss and change. Her way of coping is holding on the memories, and objects that bring about such memories.
Torture
The poem “Torture,” written by Alice Walker, acts as a call to action to the reader as well as a remembrance to when she was young. The symbolism present with the repeated use of “planting a tree” has meaning of constant growth (Walker). She uses the tree to add imagery and emphasis when she uses the forest as a call to band together as people and population against a cause. The allusion to an assassinated leader is referring to her work and inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr (“Alice”). These specific rhetorical devices are used in “Torture” as an extended metaphor for her life experiences she had growing up; living on a farm and gaining inspiration in a career is activism from MLK (Cobb).
Works Cited
"Alice Walker." Architect of Peace.
architectofpeace.org. Web. 2009. 21 Apr. 2014.
Cadden, Rosemary. "Women's Suffrage: Women & Politics
in South Australia." Women's Suffrage: Women &
Politics in South Australia. Women's Suffrage
Centenary Secretariat, n.d.
Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
Walker, Alice. "Our Martyr." Poemhunter.com. Web. 17
Apr. 2014. Web
Walker, Alice. "Word Reaches Us." poemhunter.com. Web.
15 Apr. 2014.
Walker, Alice. Choice: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. PDF.
"Alice Walker." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation.
Web. 16 Apr. 2014.
Walker, Alice. "I Will Keep Broken Things."
Poemhunter.com. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
Walker, Alice. "Torture." Poemhunter.com. Web. 20 Apr.
2014.
She completed her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, in 1969, the same year that her daughter, Rebecca Grant, was born. When her marriage to Leventhal ended in 1977, Walker moved to northern California. In 1972 she accepted a teaching position at Wellesley College, where she created one of the first women’s studies courses in the nation, a women’s literature course. In 1984 Walker published her third volume of poetry, Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful. Alice grew up in an environment of violent racism which, along with her family's poverty, and civil rights demonstrations, left a permanent impression on her writing
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