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Wide Sargasso Sea And The Color Purple

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Category: English

Autor: anton 07 November 2010

Words: 860 | Pages: 4

Problems, along with misery, become apart of life whether you’re willing to accept it or not. For those who have accepted such troubles, have also learned to cope with it one way or another. Antoinette’s character in “Wide Sargasso Sea” and Celie’s character in “The Color Purple” have both experienced problems with depression, loneliness, violence, inferiority, racism, and self-identity. It is important for such characters as Antoinette and Celie to express their emotions and have a method of working out there issues.

In the novel “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys, the character Antoinette is left mainly to her own free will as a child with no friends and relied on herself to find out that there is a world that can be both peaceful and horrifying. In the first part of the novel, we witness Antoinette’s childhood memories. She remembers the racial tensions and disapproval of white Jamaican women because they were not like “real white people”, wearing French Caribbean fashions. The white people also feared revenge of the ex- black slaves who follow Antoinette and called her “white cockroach”. Accepted by neither white nor black society, Antoinette feels great shame and left out. Having witnessed her home burnt down by the ex-slaves, the death of her brother Pierre, and her mother falling ill and mad, Antoinette had to go through it alone and begins to talk to herself for comfort. Being rejected by her mother and everyone else around her, she begins to lose her identity but soon finds protection in the closed, isolated life of the convent. Without a mothers love Antoinette becomes increasingly lost in thought and isolated, showing the early signs of her inherited emotional fragility. As an adult, insulting refrains would resurface in her mind as she becomes increasingly paranoid.

Antoinette’s arranged marriage begins to distresses her, as she is married to a controlling white Englishman who feels alienated were she feels at home. Indeed, their marriage is a mismatch of culture and custom. Anoinette and her husband, Mr. Rochester, fail to relate to one another or comfort each other when Antoinette needs it the most. His unsympathetic feelings intensify her condition and even push her to fits of violence. An exile within her own family, a "white cockroach" to her disdainful servants, and an oddity in the eyes of her own husband, Antoinette cannot find a peaceful place for herself. Now she seeks refuge of the cruel world by surrounding herself in nature’s fold. Antoinette is fascinated with nature, which becomes a central character, and perhaps her only friend.

Similarly, in the novel “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, the character Celie also has a rough childhood. As a young girl, Celie is constantly subjected to abuse, rape, and told she is poor and ugly. Celie begins to write to God for guidance because she dose not understand what’s happening to her. At only fourteen, Celie is already pregnant with her second child as a result of rape from her father. He threatens her to not speak of it because it will kill her ill mammy. She decides therefore that she can best ensure her survival by making herself completely voiceless and invisible in everyday society. Celie’s letters to God resemble a diary that is her only means of self-expression in privately breaking the silence that is normally imposed upon her. They also emphasize the power of communication as Celie slowly gains strength from her letter writing. She relies on God as listener and source of strength but sometime doubts that God cares about her concerns. After learning about her tragic background, Celie feels that she has lost some of her faith in God, and closes what she intends to be final letter to God by stating, “You must be sleep.” Now with Shug as a close friend and moving away from her abusive home, Celie feels as if she doesn’t need God to listen to her anymore and decides to stop writing to God. Celie obviously dose not have a clear understanding of who God is. Her image of God is as a white patriarch. Shug tries to get Celie to reimagine God as something completely different, as an “it” who exists in and delights in all creation. Shug suggest that instead of being mad at and rejecting God, Celie should be creative and see the presence of God in everything and everyone with no race or gender. With this new concept of God in mind she writes in her last letter “Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear people. Dear Everything. Dear God.” This re-imagining of God symbolizes Celie’s move from an object of someone else’s care to an independent woman with a sufficiently powerful voice.

When problems are not solved the results can be devastating. This is witnessed with Antoinette who goes mad because her built up of emotions and no way to work it out but talk to herself. The only way to find comfort is to work out our problems as Celie experiences. By writing to God her voice strengthened which gave her the courage to stand up to the men that abused her.

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