Journal Postings

Group B

02/19/02 (The Color Purple)

 

Adam Drake

http://www.afsc.org/pwork/1200/122k05.htm   this site is about the future of black america and how it's going to get a lot shorter if the judicial system doesn't do something about the racial effect on incarceration.

they calls me yellow

like yellow be my name

they calls me yellow

like yellow be my name

but if yellow is a name

why ain't black the same

well, if i say hey black girl

lord, she try to ruin my game  (pg 104)

My interpretation of this short poem is that it seems like the "yellow" or white girl feels like the minority in this situation, if there is one.  she feels like she is the one that is being called names and discriminated against w/ the use of a slang term for her color.  it's like the roles of racism have changed.  the black girl is in charge. 

This piece of literature caught my eye because it's short and sweet and seems to have a clear message.  no matter who the minority or the oppressed is, it is saying that color can have a determining and drastic effect on how people can behave toward one another.   this book was written, i believe, in 1982, so a lot more of this kind of behavior reigned in the world, like racism.  even today this happens even more than people know and see.  this book deals w/ different aspects of society like men and women, blacks and whites, and even the existance of god and love in the lives of humans.  there are a lot of controversies that our world faces and one of them is truly, racism.  i believe that as long as there are blacks and white living free in the world, there will continue to be different cultures and ethnic backgrounds that will lead to conflicts and discrimination. 

http://www.afsc.org/pwork/1200/122k05.htm   this site is about the future of black america and how it's going to get a lot shorter if the judicial system doesn't do something about the racial effect on incarceration.  I'm not advocating for blacks or against blacks, though.  the site strictly deals w/ the amount of blacks in the prison system and why they're there.  blacks feel that there are not given fair lives because they have color in their skin.  it shows that racism is alive today and is continuing to be fought.

 

William Fisher

 

Bradley Immel

One website I found was at http://wwwvms.utexas.edu/~melindaj/bio.html.  It is a biography of Alice Walker.

One thing that I notice about this book is that, because of the style and also the dialect it is written in, it is a little bit hard to follow what is going on.  Part of this is simply because of the way the talking is, but another part of this is because it seems to have a couple different storylines, and it jumps between them.  One of these is what happens with Shug and Celie, one is everything that is going on with Harpo and Squeak and Sofia, and another one is starting at the end of this section with Celie and Shug finding all the letters from Nettie.  The dialect is also difficult to understand at times, since it is written from the perspective of an uneducated black woman.

One thing that surprised me was the sometimes-graphic explanations and descriptions of what happened between Celie and her father, she and Mr. _____, and especially between her and Shug.  I can see how these sorts of negative experiences may have affected her enough to not enjoy sex with men.  If you are forced to do something, and you don’t enjoy it, I’m sure you aren't going to want to do it very often.  I guess that is kind of where she is coming from.  And I think that is sometimes part of the emotional trauma that goes along with rape and sexual assault.

Another issue that this book deals with, especially in this section a little bit, is that of Domestic Violence.  Mr. ______ is very abusive of Celie, but no one seems to realize this until she tells Shug about it.  Domestic violence seems to be a recurring thing.  It happened in the first section when Celie was living at home, it happens to Celie while she is married to Mr. _______, and it also happens between Harpo and Squeak and Harpo and Sofia.  The interesting thing is that it does not only happen when a man hits a woman as you usually think it does, but it also happens between Harpo’s wife and Girlfriend. 

Overall, this book delves into a huge number of issues of all kinds, revolving around Celie’s experiences.  I have enjoyed it so far, it has been interesting to read about what life may have been like for a woman like Celie at the time when this book took place (I assume that it was in the 40’s or 50’s maybe?  Anyway, it seems like sometime previous to the Civil rights movement, so sometime before or near the 50’s I would say).

One website I found was at http://wwwvms.utexas.edu/~melindaj/bio.html.  It is a biography of Alice Walker.  It was pretty interesting, and it gives a good overview of her life and many of her past personal experiences that I’m sure contributed to the writing of this book. 

 

Erika Keegan

http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/walker.html

First of all, I have to tell you how confused I am at this point in the book.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good book, but I just cannot keep characters and who is talking at what times straight.  I feel that the way the book it written, language wise, gives you more of a true feeling…like we are actually talking to the characters.  Then again, sometimes I find it distracting and hard to follow.  Maybe it’s just me, but I am confused on characters and who says what.  There were a few things that I found interesting in the section we are focusing on.  One of the main things was when Sofia gets into the fight with the mayor and his wife.  Sofia seems to be a very persistent woman and stands up for herself.  We even see this when she beats up Harpo for trying to beat her.  Anyway, when the mayor’s wife asks Sofia if she would come and work for her, she says “hell no.”  This shows typical Sofia standing up for herself.  Then the mayor beats her and she ends up in jail.  This is where she changes her tune.  In jail, she is obedient and holds her anger inside.  She tells Celie that she is trying to act like her and jump right up and do what they say.  This is the part that I thought was very interesting.  After I read this part, I found myself wondering why Sofia said this to Celie.  Was it to make a point to Celie that she does not have to obey Mr. _______?  Was it to show Celie again that she can be her own woman and not a possession of someone else?  Was it because that is what Sofia had learned from watching Celie?  Was Sofia enforcing the point again that Celie must fight?  Was Sofia being sarcastic or serious in saying this?  Was there some sort of hidden meaning behind it? Maybe I am reading too much into this section, or maybe it is not a very important section at all, but it intrigued me.  It made me ask questions and wonder what was going through Sofia and Celie’s heads at the time.

http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/walker.html

 

 

Jill Kerlin

This is a useful resource when reading the book.  It gives character analyses and overviews of the letters: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/purple/context.html.  This website has no real content, but does have some interesting questions to think about: http://www.uwyo.edu/wch/bdpguidecp.htm.  This website gives statistics on domestic violence: http://www.dvsheltertour.org/fact.html#widespread.  The book focuses on the abuse of African Americans, but I was interested to discover that domestic violence occurs equally among African American and Caucasian women. 

I have found this book difficult to read because for so many pages it seems that there is no hope for Celie; that she is destined to suffering.  She is in bondage to her husband and has yet to know the wonders of the free world.  Perhaps even more discouraging is that Celie doesn't seem to realize what the world has to offer outside of her "enslavement."  Having grown up in a society that stresses the individual's ability to change their circumstances through definitive action, it is a shock to see Celie's passive acceptance of the cards she's been dealt.  It seems that the strength and courage she possesses, which gives her ability to serve and accept with no question of authority, comes from a Source much greater than herself.  As the book goes on, I can see a gradual change in Celie that comes through Shug's inspiration.

I am somewhat confused by the ability of nearly all the characters involved to live together with very little conflict.  I cannot imagine how Squeak, Sophia, Harpo, and the prizefighter manage to act civilized (with the exception of their first meeting) when they are all involved in such a bizarre relationship.  (I can't remember if Harpo and Sophia were ever legally married, but it they are, there seems to be a huge disrespect for the sanctity of marriage.)  In a similar situation, it is apparent that Celie has no real feelings for her husband when she gracefully accepts Shug into her household.  As the story progresses, Celie feels not anger or resentment toward Shug, but admiration and a sense of jealousy - that her husband loves and respects for Shug in a way that he will never care for Celie.  Mr. ­­­___'s reception of Grady is also amazing, considering that they both love the same woman.

This is a useful resource when reading the book.  It gives character analyses and overviews of the letters: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/purple/context.html.  This website has no real content, but does have some interesting questions to think about: http://www.uwyo.edu/wch/bdpguidecp.htm.  This website gives statistics on domestic violence: http://www.dvsheltertour.org/fact.html#widespread.  The book focuses on the abuse of African Americans, but I was interested to discover that domestic violence occurs equally among African American and Caucasian women.  There was also a statistic of marital rape, which, in my naiveté, I would not have assumed to be so high today.  Over a million women have been victim to marital rape, a rape that is often more violent and less reported than other forms.  This website really helped to bring light into the fact that Celie, although fictional, is only one of the many victims of this violence.

 

Lisa Langood

I found a web site that lists some horrifying statistics on family violence at http://endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=77.  What has changed is how these issues are dealt with.  There are now laws against discrimination against someone’s race, gender, or religion.  Child abusers and wife beaters can be put in jail.  . . . I found various groups for incest survivors on the Internet.  V.O.I.C.E.S. in Action, found at http://www.voices-action.org/index.html is one such group.  The organization reports on what is being done to protect children, and allows incest survivors to share their stories.  She could also find help to deal with domestic violence.  The Family Violence Prevention Fund at http://endabuse.org/index2.php3 provides a lot of info dealing with this issue. 

I wanted to reply to the question posed at the end of class on Thursday, on whether or not times have changed since the time in The Color Purple.  I don’t think a whole lot has changed.  Sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, marital infidelity, sexism, and racism are all still prevalent in the U.S.  I found a web site that lists some horrifying statistics on family violence at http://endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=77.  What has changed is how these issues are dealt with.  There are now laws against discrimination against someone’s race, gender, or religion.  Child abusers and wife beaters can be put in jail.  Of course, these laws haven’t changed people’s attitudes or behaviors much.  People are still denied jobs and are treated different because someone’s prejudice.  Thousands of women are still being beaten to death, and children are still being molested in their own homes. 

Today Celie would have been able to go to the police or a social worker about what her father was doing to her.  She would have that option; though it is unlikely she would have taken it.  She was obviously frightened of her father, and a line in her first letter (“ I have always been a good girl (1).”)  suggests that she blames herself for what has happened.  Later in her life she could have joined a support group or have gotten some sort of therapy to help her cope with what has happened to her.  I found various groups for incest survivors on the Internet.  V.O.I.C.E.S. in Action, found at http://www.voices-action.org/index.html is one such group.  The organization reports on what is being done to protect children, and allows incest survivors to share their stories.  She could also find help to deal with domestic violence.  The Family Violence Prevention Fund at http://endabuse.org/index2.php3 provides a lot of info dealing with this issue.  It provides info on public policies, statistics, campaigns to educate the public, and even a list of celebrities who either commit domestic violence or are speaking out against it.  At least in the book Celie now has her developing relationship with Shug to bring her happiness, love and support. 

 

Angel Lombardo-Edwards      

The link I found was under “woman haters” 

www.theabsolute.net/minefield/misc.html#guide.  This man tries to explain to other men how to understand a woman.  Yeah, he has it all figured out.  It is like the blind leading the blind.

I just finished reading this book last night, it was so easy to read.  I had seen the movie years ago and I loved both the book and video.  I related to this book in so many ways.  Being a housewife for the past ten years I understood how these women felt, I especially related to Sofia.  Harpo wanted very much to control Sofia and have her do what he felt her role was, he even tried to eat more to get bigger than her, hehehe.  What Harpo didn’t understand is that some women will fight for what they believe in, the rights we have, regardless of how hard our husbands fight to keep us oppressed.  Sofia eventually left, as did i.  Sometimes it is easier to do it alone, after all we did in our marriages.  We have these set stereotypes of what we are suppose to be, women take care of the children, men go to work and then they have this right to come home and sit in front of the television and relax.  Funny, I have been a parent for 10 years, before that I had been in the military, and have worked full time, have gone to college full time, and guess what, parenting is a 24 hour a day job, hardest thing I have ever done, so emotionally tiring, rewarding, but hard work.  Men from the generation in this book had definite roles, even if Harpo and his father felt that they would have enjoyed taking care of the children, sewing, cooking, or whatever, they couldn’t, they would have been seen as less of men.  Unfortunately, this attitude still prevails with some men, although I see improvement with the younger generation of men.  The women in this book were very strong women, the one thing that got them through was each other.  They may have submitted to their roles, but they were strong and together many of them found the strength to leave these worthless men they had married.  I am glad this was not the generation I live in, although not so much has changed, women still have not achieved equal and it is not looking that we ever will.  The number one group in poverty is children, why?  Because they are raised by women who loose a great portion of money when they leave their husbands.  Children raised by single parent mothers have a higher rate of juvenile delinquency, why?  They have to work a couple jobs to support their children, the fathers are absent.  Then why don’t my criminology books say, “Children raised by single mothers and absentee fathers have a higher rate of juvenile delinquency due to the fact that women loose income upon divorce and men gain it.”  That really bothers me, it makes it sound like the mothers are to blame, doesn’t it?  The Color Purple, while much worse than my life as a wife, still hit home.  I know what it feels like to be oppressed because I am a woman, but to be a black woman would be worse, especially in this time in history.

I found it ironic that all of the women in this story came out on top, they all succeeded after all the obstacles in their way.  The strength of a few women, Shug and Sofia, in particular, empowered them all.  We have come a long way since this time period, we still have a long way to go.  The day I left my husband and moved into my itty bitty apartment above the et cetera shop, Rosie Rivetor was nailed to my door, “We can do it,” it says.  And I can, just like many women before me.  It is not easy though.  One thing bothers me a lot.  In the end of the book when Sofia is telling Miss Eleanor Jane that she does not love her baby boy, that he will grow up and hate blacks and treat women as did the generation before him, I realized that even if I did escape, my sons will not, the example, the attitude that was so much their fathers will prevail.   If it takes men to be old and alone to realize what life is really about, like it did with Mr.________(Albert) our divorce rates will only go higher, unless men see us as equal and the sex roles disappear, we are screwed, truly screwed.  And just for the record, I do not foresee myself becoming a lesbian to eliminate men in my life and I do not feel that Celie was a lesbian because she was a victim of incest and basically raped.  To sum it up this book was all about the truth that all people are different, some strong, some weak, some masculine, some feminine, but expectations of what we should be prevail.  Well, not for me, I am gonna do it my way, just like they did.  Very empowering reading, couldn’t come at a better time in my life. 

The link I found was under “woman haters” 

www.theabsolute.net/minefield/misc.html#guide.  This man tries to explain to other men how to understand a woman.  Yeah, he has it all figured out.  It is like the blind leading the blind.  If men listened to how we feel, they would understand who we are, all different, individuals much like themselves.  Instead of shaking their heads and say Uh huh, as this article suggests.  I could sit here and bash this little man for every stereotype he threw my way, but I won’t, that would take me to his level.  I will just succeed in my life as a woman and know in my heart he must be very unhappy in his relationships with women.  I pity him, I really do.  I know in my heart that individuals who feel the dire need to try to oppress another must feel threatened by that group in some way, just like in The Color Purple, Harpo was so scared of Sofias strength that inevitably he lost her.  I especially liked this web sites Links of Interest at the bottom of the page.  If this man hates women so much and feels that we have not contributed to anything of intellectual interest on the web, why in the world is he wasting his time trying find that info?   He also says, “Women.  Can’t live with em’.  And can’t live with em’.”   Here is mine, “Men.  I have no desire to live without them, they add so very much to my life, from my sons to my grandfather, they are a wonderful part of my world.  And I will not bitter myself because of a few “bad apples,” men like this one who have obviously been hurt or who are insecure.  But I will never give up my personal power of being a woman, these skills and emotions I will pass onto my children regardless of their gender.”        

 

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