The research question of my extended essay is "How patriarchal and colonial oppression is expressed in Alice Walker's "The Color Purple?" The essay explores the themes of colonial subordination, gender oppression and the representation of gender relations of the male dominated early 20th century in the novel, The Color Purple and how these can be related to postcolonial feminist criticism. The novel can be looked upon as a strong censure of the bigotry and sexism that defrauded African- American women in the American South. The novel declares that the American culture is a bigot, sexist and colorist entrepreneur society, which works on the premise of unnatural hierarchical qualifications. The protagonist Celie is diminished and isolated by the men in her lives, first by her father and later by her husband, Mr.________. She is doubly oppressed: both as a woman and as a colonial object. The paper showcases the spiritual journey of Celie, the development and advancement of her from an oblivious and oppressed adolescent to a proficient lady who has figured out how to stand up for herself and adapt to her hostile surroundings. The research emphasizes on the concept of Womanism which is at the crux of this novel. The concept of sisterhood which is engraved in the Womanist Theology is also looked upon in the essay. It celebrates the spirit of black women and appreciates women's power through the strong characters like Nettie, Sofia and Shug Avery who motivate her and help in the development of her selfhood.
"A male dominated society of the early twentieth century in America defined gender roles which each individual would subscribe to. The ideal role of a man or the qualities of a 'real' man would be defined by a man having a well paid job and him driving a Cadillac, and any man lacking these qualities is less of a man. In this society, the "man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being.