Alice Walker Feminist

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Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, and Zora Neale Hurston are prominent black women authors in contemporary American literature. These three women share their experiences living in the South during a time of racism. Each of them has a distinct writing style. All include an insight into experiences similar to ones they have gone through and the impact it makes on black women in society. “Feminism’s second wave in the United States—initially a reflection of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the subsequent women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s—is primarily responsible for spawning feminist literary criticism” (Freccero). The influence of black women in literature has changed over time as a result of social and political …show more content…
Walker credits authors such as Virginia Woolf, Phillis Wheatley and Zora Neale Hurston for stressing the tradition of storytelling in the lives of mothers and daughters (Freccero). These authors inspired Walker to write the essays and novels that she did, they way in which she did. According to critic Laura Niesen De Abruna, the language an author uses is extremely important. Abruna reasons that Walker’s choice of letters, diaries, and journals is the result of what women were accepted to write in the nineteenth century. In The Color Purple, Walker’s character Celie writes letters in what is described as “black folk English,” where she expresses the importance of story telling. Through these letters, Celie, who was raped as a child, is finally able to achieve a sense of self-worth, knowing she is not dependent on a male …show more content…
According to Yolanda Manora, Angelou’s use of a child, who runs from church upon forgetting her words, represents the distorted perception by society. This expression “creates a discursive space that subtly interrogates the social and political contestation and reformation of black female subjectivity, but which ultimately turns upon the cultural, creative, relational, and personal potential that emerges in the course of her becoming” (Manora 360). Similar to Walker, Angelou works her life experiences of growing up in the south into her writings. Manora writes that Sondra O’Neale has analyzed the use of black women in Angelou’s work. “She credits Angelou with “remold[ing] perceptions” of Black women, combating negative stereotypes that prevail in the cultural imagination.” Angelou counters typical stereotypes of black women, and in turn establishes a new image of black women. “Just as social stereotypes objectify the Black female subject, this new archetypal, composite self would impose a different manner of limitation on the Black woman’s becoming, establishing a fixed notion of what a Black woman is and can become. Rather than a complacent composite, the Black female subjectivity that Angelou forwards turns upon the potential for a resistant hybridity within black female subjectivity” (Manora 366).

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