From No-Thing to New Naming


  • Margaret Tomlinson


This paper is an exploration of woman's discovery of self and the deconstruction of patriarchy in Alice Walker's The Color Purple. It examines the links between woman's power in claiming her sexuality and naming her own experience, and the consequent undermining of the power of patriarchy to define her. Aspects of black women's internalisation of the patriarchal system are revealed and rejected in Walker's writing. Strength as domination is redefined. Relationships seen as subversive are explored and valued. Part of this process of undermining the power of patriarchy and the discovery of woman's autonomy is the reclaiming of the divine from its white male definition, and the new and empowering naming of both self and the divine.