Do you agree with the statement: 'The Colour Purple' by Alice Walker is a heroic failure?

Essay by hills08High School, 10th grade November 2007

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"The Colour Purple" is a heroic failure.

I agree with this assessment:Alice Walker's novel has sparked huge controversy in the African-American community and the media. Most of the controversy revolves around the belief that the novel, as well as, the film portrays black male characters in a negative manner. They are characterized as stereotypical abusers and rapists who are simply there to tyrannize the women in their life. This is not the first time Walker has been linked to racial and gender controversy relating to the black male characters portrayed in her novels. Walker, in her own defense, has stated several times that women all too often are abused by the men they love. She adds that all of the characters in her novels, male and female, represent people that she has known throughout her life.

Alice Walker grew up during the fifties in Georgia, within a community caught up in racist issues and dire poverty.

Her parents experienced first hand the hardships of not only slavery but also the oppressive sharecropping system. During her childhood, Walker had to make the best of what little her parents could offer her in terms of education and support. Being the only girl in a household of boys, she also had to suffer under male domination. Far from the traditional pranks and quarrels one would expect, Alice suffered from outright violence brought about by her brothers. Most notably, she was shot in the face by one of her male siblings and suffered emotional and physical trauma, as well as some blindness related to the incident.

Walker's difficulties and hardships which she experienced both at home and growing up played a large role in her participation in the widespread civil rights movement. In between studies, she traveled to Uganda and...