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The disruption of traditional gender roles in "The Color Purple"

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Malsa Ghafoor

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of The disruption of traditional gender roles in "The Color Purple"

The disruption of traditional gender roles In a book that is heavily underlined with sexism and gender stereotypes of the atypical man and woman, Alice Walker introduces a range of characters that break the boundaries of traditional male and female gender roles.
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker Sofia Characteristics of Sofia
A "fighter"
Controls Harpo - is stronger than him both emotionally and physically "Sofia look half her size. But she still a big strong girl. Arms got muscle. Legs, too. She swing that baby about like it nothing. She tell Harpo, hold the baby...Mr _____ blow smoke, look down at him and say, Yeah, I see now she going to switch the traces on you" (pg. 34) "All my life I had to fight. I had to fight from my daddy. I had to fight from my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men...I loves Harpo...But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me" (pg. 39) "Miss Millie finger the children some more, finally look at Sofia...she say, would you like to work for me, be my maid? Sofia say, Hell no. She say, What you say? Sofia say, Hell no" (pg. 81) Characteristics
Sexually assertive
Shug Avery "And she dress to kill. She got on a red wool dress and chestful of black beads. A shiny black hat with what looks like chickinhawk feathers...She look so stylish it like the trees all round the house draw themself up tall for a better look" "One thing my mama hated me for was how much I love to fuck, she say...I went to stay with my mama wild sister in Memphis. She just like me, Mama say. She drink, she fight, she love men to death. She work in a roadhouse. Cook. Feed fifty men, screw fifty-five" (pg. 111) "That when I notice how Shug talk and act sometimes like a man. Men say stuff like that to women, Girl, you look like a good time. Women always talk about hair and health..."(pg. 77). Characteristics
Emotionally weak
Kind, sweet, loving Harpo "Harpo complain about the plowing he have to do ...Harpo nearly big as his daddy. He strong in body but weak in will. He scared. He black as the inside of a chimney. His eyes be sad and thoughtfull. His face begin to look like a woman face. "He take the baby, give it a kiss, chuck it under it chin. Grin, look up on the porch at his daddy" (pg. 34) Harpo want to know what to do to make Sofia mind. He sit out on the porch with Mr.....He say, I tell her one thing, she do another. Always backtalk. To tell the truth, he sound a little proud of this to me...You ever hit her? Mr ___ ast. Harpo look down at his hands. Naw suh, he say low, embarass" (pg. 35) Traditional male and female gender roles Don't do work
Harsh, dominant (typically violent)
Stoic - shows no affection/weakness
Women were supposed to work
Keep house clean
Look after the children
Be obedient/submissive to husband Why does Alice Hawker disrupt traditional gender roles?
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