Examine the authors' presentation of men, women and gender roles in The Colour Purple and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

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Examine the authors’ presentation of men, women and gender roles in The Colour Purple and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

In the novels, The Colour Purple and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit a masculine quality in a female character or, a feminine quality in a male character is seen as a sign of strength and change. Both authors’ portrayal of gender and sexuality is an extremely significant aspect in the novels. This essay will be focusing on how Alice Walker and Jeanette Winterson present men and women as well as how the authors present the idea that gender is distinct from sexual identity and if rigidly enforced, gender roles can be highly destructive.

In The Colour Purple and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, male characters are represented in a variety of different ways. There are some positive representations of men, however, they are mainly portrayed as oppressors. The characters of Mr. _____ and the Pastors are shown to be typical men who show authoritarian and tyrannical values. In The Colour Purple Celie chooses not to acknowledge Mr. _____‘s name, this shows that Celie is denying him a presence and sense of individuality until right at the end of the novel. This is the only way Celie can attain power. However, not recognizing Mr._____’s name reinforces the fact that he has complete authority and power over Celie and she is fearful of him as. The use of names is also significant in illustrating power and status in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Pastor Finch and Spratt’s names are important in showing that Jeanette is also living in a patriarchal society. Both Pastors have a lot of respect and power in the church however their names, Finch and Spratt show that they are named after a small bird and a small fish. This is effective as it shows that outside the confines of the church these two men have little importance in the outside world.

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The portrayal of men in The Colour Purple and Oranges is not fixed therefore, along with the negative representations there many different depictions of men in both novels. In The Colour Purple, Samuel can be seen as positive male character as he is shown to be a sensible and intelligent man who shows respect for women unlike many other characters in the novel. In contrast, Oranges does not seem to have a positive male representation however, Jeanette’s dad is seen to be a passive character. The fact that Jeanette refers to her father as her mother’s “husband” shows that Jeanette’s father ...

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