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The Color Purple

by Alice Walker
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What are the major differences in The Color Purple when it comes to sexism?

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Gender roles and sexist behavior are two key themes in Alice Walker's The Color Purple . Mister, his father, and his son, Harpo, all believe that women should be submissive to men and not considered their equal. They treat the women in their lives badly, beating them and ignoring...

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Gender roles and sexist behavior are two key themes in Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Mister, his father, and his son, Harpo, all believe that women should be submissive to men and not considered their equal. They treat the women in their lives badly, beating them and ignoring their wants and needs. There are women in the novel, however, who resist this treatment.

Shug Avery will not allow Mister or any other man treat her disrespectfully. She has a job as a singer and is an independent woman. Sophia, Harpo's wife, is also a strong woman who resists the sexist treatment of her husband and his father. As time goes on, Harpo changes and is respectful of his wife. Although Celie at first submits to the abuse of her husband, as the novel progresses, she begins to understand that she deserves more and gains the strength to stand up to him. She eventually leaves him and strikes out on her own. Walker's message about sexism is a powerful one as she shows the women in her novel successfully fighting against such abuse.

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