This study investigates Alice Walker’s fictions by focusing on gender representation portrayed in her three novels The Color Purple, The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Possessing the Secret of Joy to find out whether gender is culturally or physically centered; whether gender establishers such as tradition and racism contribute towards gender differentiation; and whether gender is a rigid belief with stable or changeable nature. The projection of Walker’s characters reveals that gender is psychologically and culturally determined rather than physically. It varies from one ethnic or race to another. Gender is found to be a form of rigid belief of unstable nature which causes women’s identities to be reconstructed in an oppressive manner. The practice of genital mutilation by the Olinkan tradition seeks to enforce gender differentiation through drawing distinctive lines between genders and defines them in their own terms rejecting the biological nature of gender construction. Overexploited, inhumanely treated, and dispossessed from their lands by the white masters, Black men such as Mr_, Grange, and Brownfield exercise power and redefine themselves by reduplicating the same oppression on their women and create imaginary illusory identities for themselves. Black women such as Celie, Squeak, Mem and Tashi are rendered as helpless and emaciated through their husband’s atrocities. These suppressed, silent, and dependent women are the ideal characteristics dictated by the tradition, where as, transgressive women are labeled as a whore like Josie and Shug or crazy like Sofia. These ideal images absorbed as a result of Celie’s and Squeak’s ignorance; Mem’s excessive affection and sympathy; and Tashi’s blind honor to her tribe are all shattered as soon as they recognized their idealized status as nothing but a plot against them.
|Keywords:||Gender, Feminism, Infibulation, Racism|
Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Postgraduate Researcher, Department of English , Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
University of Auckland, New Zealand
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