Welcome! Please consider how your attitude affects your and other students experience of the lesson.
Be respectful, come prepared with relevant material and show interest in order to have the best possible educational experience.
During the course of this lesson, you will:
read student examples and compare them with the learning outcomes
discuss the events, postcolonial theory and a personal connection
practice vocabulary, grammar and linking words in writing
Part 1. Read student examples.
Part 2. Compare the examples with our learning outcomes
Part 2. Writing exercise: postcolonialism and a personal connection
Exit ticket & homework.
Read the student examples.
Student example nr 1
The book color purple introduces the reader to the african american women's struggle for empowerment. The book tells us about how men used their power to control women, and how poor Celie suffer in the hands of men. But throughout the book we learn different characters, different women who also learning how to become stronger and be their own person without men telling them how to be or behave.
The phrase " you better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mommy". Reminds of a lot how men treated women long time ago, where men controlled women and how isolated Celie was, how she was scared to make her voice heard and the only one she could speak/write to was God, no one but only God. It made me think of how she would escape from suffering absuive household and marriage but the more throughout the book the more character development i see from her.
In the novel, the author uses examples of post-colonial theory, such as otherness and eurocentrism. Otherness where one group exclude or margnalize another group. The author brought up racism and internal racism in the book that clearly showed how normalized racism back then was. Example of how much privilage white people had was when Sofia met the mayor's wife that looked at Sofia's children as if they are some exotic objects and then asked Sofia if she wanted to be their maid. Sofia answered them with " hell no" which led to the mayor slap Sofia in the face and Sofia fought back. The problem was that Sofia was the only one put in jail even though the Mayor was in the wrong too. But because of Sofia being black, it's her fault because they see her as an "angry black woman". Another incident in the book that showed clearly of internal racism and also sexism was when people described Shug Avery. They saw her as "slutty" because she wore bright colored dresses and revealing clothes and they also thought of her as too dark which is an insult because where they lived in a eurocentrism country where white people was the ideal beauty and being too dark was "dirty" or being "poor". and because of the eurocentrism perspective was the norm. Or when Nettie tried to make the Olinka tribe christian and learn them in western way even thoug they couldn't care elss which is example of eurocetrism.
This book remind me of how long women have struggle for not only sexism but also racism and for not being the beauty standard. Back in the days when i was younger, bothme, my black friends and asian friends went through racism from both white adults and children. It was normalized as we lived in a city where there was not a lot of colored children. I remember how white people opinion about how i looked as a child affected my view of myself and how i hated being asian.Not only does black women endure racism from white people but also from black men, i don't know how many articles i've read or how many videos i've seen online where black men kill black women or black men humiliate black women online and calls them ugly compared to white women but when they get called out for being racist, they excuses themselves and say it's a prefernce. Calling a black women is like calling their own mother ugly because she is black. Black men are supposed to be by black women sides and not against them. And same goes to white men and women because we all are humans. putting others down doesn't make us to a better person.
The color purple leaves us thinking about sexism, racism and the struggle of african women. I've learned how the colonial of the theme othernes have affected people's view of each other and how much people judge one and another based on their skin color. When i read the book and see the different characters it makes me to think of each women representing each struggle. Celie struggle with abuse and controlled by Mr, Sofia is a strong woman which men fear because she doesn't let them put her down and Shug Avery doesn't care about people telling her how to behave and wear because she does what she wants despite being judge by her skin color and her revealing clothes. These women all devloped to strong characters and show us how to not give up and not letting men telling you how to live
Student example nr 2
With the help of her characters in 'The Color Purple', Alice Walker introduces the reader to relevant and important topics like racism, discrimination and abuse. Celie, the main character, had a rough start in life, the man she thought of as her father was very abusive, both sexually, and physically, throughout her childhood. At a young age Celie is forced to marry a man referred to as Mr.___. Mr.___ is significantly older than Celie and has several devious children from a previous marriage, children that Celie is now expected to care for. Despite all of Celie's horrendous experiences there is one thing she loves in life, her sister Nettie. Celie allows Nettie to escape their abusive childhood home and move in with her and Mr.___. It does not take long however, before Mr.___ evicts his unwanted guest and Nettie is finds herself alone on the streets. Not having heard from her sister in years, Celie assumes that Nettie is dead, until the truth is unraveled when she finds all the letters that Mr.___ has hidden.
Nettie's first letters explain how she met a wonderful family that welcomed her in to their home. The family members, Sam, Corrine and their two adopted children, plan to go on a missionary trip to Africa and invite Nettie to come with them. When they arrive in Africa the inhabitants of the village are baffled, they never thought missionaries could be black. It is very common that white people, especially white women, come to African villages and try to "save" the villagers. This phenomenon is called 'white saviourism' and often does more harm than good. Sending white missionaries to "save" black people states that there is something wrong with the way Africans live. In 'The Color Purple' this becomes apparent on p.155 "The white missionary would not let us have this ceremony, said Joseph." . The cermony is a celebration and appreciation of 'roofleaf', something that is fundamental for building huts that withstand weather. The missionary trip is an example of how the author uses post-colonial theory and addresses issues like eurocentrism and colonial education. Eurocentrism is the belief that european values, like christianity, are the only correct ones, this is the reason christian churches send missionaries to teach the "savage Africans" about religion. Teaching about christian and western beliefs is also an example of colonial education.
Throughout her letters Nettie also describes hierachical structures similar to what Celie experiences in the USA. Nettie writes about the descrimination towards women in the African village, they are supposed to care for the children, cook, clean and work in the field. No girl is allowed education and their only goal should be to find a husband that can provide for them. Similarly, Celie was forced to marry young and is expected to cook, clean, work in a field and care for someone elses children. As the story continues Nettie persuades the fathers to allow their daughtes in to the school and Celie finds the courage to leave Mr.___ and start her own business. Another similarity between Celie's and Nettie's lives is how the white people abuse their power. White people come to the African village and decide to turn it into a plantage for rubber trees, they destroy the roofleaf and force the villagers to move. The villagers are forced to pay rent for their own land and to buy tin from the colonizers for their buildings. In Celie's story there are many examples of white people abusing their power. A prominent one being when the mayor and his wife ensure that Celie's friend Sophia is imprisoned for being sassy towards the mayor's wife.
Parts of the story remind me of my own life. A quote that stuck with me was "All her young life she has tried to please her father, never quite realising that, as a girl she never could." from p. 166. I feel a connection with that young girl because I myself recently realised that there are relatives that I will never please, no matter what I do, simply because I am not a boy. More importantly I also realised how privileged I am as a white person in today's world. All the systemic racism, dicrimination and police brutality does not affect me to the extent it affects black people.
Most authors would shy away from writing such a personal, emotional and powerful book because it is so easily ruined by a single misstep. Alice Walker however, gracefully takes on the task and writes a marvellous story so unbelievably detailed it leaves every reader feeling as though it might as well have happened directly to them. The uneasiness felt as a white person is closely related to a newfound distrust and criticism towards our fundamental social structures.
Comparing with the learning outcomes
Time for the exercise: 10 minutes
Compare the student examples with the outcomes.
How would you assess the students?
What makes one text better than the other?
Take notes and be prepared to motivate why.
Please remember that some texts might be great at one skill, but lack another.
Time for the exercise: 40 minutes + you may continue working at home
Write a short text (100-200 words) where you discuss a personal connection to The Color Purple and postcolonial theory. This does not have to be an acrostic text.
Your task is to make a personal connection to the events or characters from The Color Purple and a postcolonial theory. Examples are:
Visualise yourself in the story, being a character and how you would react in a similar situation.
Compare your own experiences with the events and characters.
Compare The Color Purple and postcolonial theory with issues or problems that you care a lot about.
Next, write a short comparison between your personal connection with The Color Purple and the theory. Include at least one of each:
Sisterhood, abuse, racism, sexism, gender roles, religion or society.
Ambivalence, exoticism, eurocentrism, colonial education, hybridity, mimicry or otherness.
Try to use the linking words that we have learned:
Elaboration: such as, for instance, as well, in addition, furthermore, moreover
Cause and effect: due to, therefore, on the condition that, consequently, in order to
Compare and contrast: in comparison, in contrast to, however, despite, whereas
"My final thoughts are .."
Re-read the chapters as needed.