Comparing The Color Purple And The Awakening

1256 Words 6 Pages
Belong to Oneself

The idea of self ownership and feminine space are what, in short, drive the feminism/womanism ideologies conveyed through The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, and The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. Both novels carry a strong feminist insight of the lives of two seemingly opposite women, who were living through essentially the same conditions. Celie and Edna struggled with their existence in a world they did not fully comprehend and much less accept. Through a series of self discoveries, emotional and physical, both women managed to break free from the prison that had become the oppressiveness of their homes and the expectations that society imposed upon them. It was not until they embraced their self-awareness and fully accepted
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It 's not so much a realization of this power, as it is a journey of self exploration where both characters look inwardly to examine what exactly it is they believe. In The Color Purple Celie harbors an anger against men because of the pain they have caused her-emotionally and physically-and because such abuse was seen as ordinary. Her hatred only intensified with the sudden removal of her sister Nettie, and it was there that the first switch was hit. Celie accepted that, although it was socially unacceptable, she had no romantic interest in men, but she kept up her sexual duty to her husband because it was only that, a duty. It was when she accepted her interest in a woman, Shug, that she got her first taste of self-authority. This was the first act that alienated Celie from society, defying her religion. Lesbianism, hardly being accepted in this era, was much less accepted in that time period. In engaging in such activity, Walker was not setting Celie apart, but rather she was promoting sexual equality. The message being, that women have the right to choose. Upon this realization Celie felt an empowerment that was only fed by the discovery that Albert had been hiding Nettie’s letters from her. This was the final, and most likely the most powerful …show more content…
Her friends and even her marriage only served the purpose to uphold her social standing and to feed it. Edna never felt fully immersed in this lifestyle and the summer she spent with Robert livened that feeling. It was when Robert announced his departure to Mexico that Edna gave way to her feelings. she began to act “ill” according to her husband, which meant that she was no longer playing the part in their societal game. Just as Celie was received influence from Shug, Edna received a sort of guidance from Mademoiselle Reisz. Chopin’s purpose for this character was to show the disapproval that society had for a woman who had broken out of the mold. Mademoiselle Reisz had refused marriage, and had taken up the career of an artist. She was independent, something the women of that society knew nothing about. Everyone judged her for her choices and went as far to call her “unpleasant” and even “witch-like” in her ways. She was Chopin’s symbol of upcoming feminism, and it was in her house and company that Edna fed her love for Robert. Infidelity was obviously frowned upon, but after the summer, Edna had managed to abandon and remove herself from her society. Not only that, but her thirst for self ownership went far enough for her to confess that “she would never sacrifice herself for her children” (Chopin, 349). She wanted to not belong to anyone.

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