American novelist, poet, and social activist Alice Walker became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She was awarded this prize and National Book Award for Fiction for her popular novel The Colour Purple. Throughout her literary career, Alice Walker published twelve non-fiction works, seventeen novels and short story collections, and a collection of poetry and essays. In this article, we are going to read about the top five Most famous works of Alice Walker.
Most Famous Works of Alice Walker – Top 5
The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)
Alice Walker’s Novel “The Third Life of Grange Copeland” explores the intergenerational impact of racism and poverty on a family in the rural South. The story follows Grange Copeland, a black sharecropper, who abandons his family in search of a better life in the North. But his own struggles with discrimination and violence lead him back to his hometown, where he tries to reconcile with his estranged family and confront his past. Through powerful and evocative prose, Walker highlights the resilience of the human spirit in the face of oppression and the importance of family and community in overcoming hardship.
Meridian is set in the 1960s – 1970s centers on a young black woman named Meridian Hill. She is a student at the fictitious Saxon College. Meridian embraces the civil rights movement during a time when the movement was violent. She becomes romantically involved with Truman Held, another activist. During their on-and-off relationship, she becomes pregnant with Truman’s child. After Meridian’s abortion, Truman becomes more attached to her and wishes to start their relationship all over again. Later, he gets involved with a white woman named Lynne Rabinowitz. Lynne is also engaged in the Civil Rights Movement but for the wrong reasons. Truman unsuccessfully struggles to achieve personal and financial success. And, Meridian continues to fight for the movement she believes in.
The Color Purple (1982)
Alice Walker’s most popular work The Color Purple is an epistolary novel. The novel focuses on Celie. Celie, a black woman from the rural South is in a world that surrounds her with cruelty. When the story begins, the reader sees Celie as a child running with her sister through fields of purple flowers. However, when she comes into the view of reality we see that Celie is pregnant with the child of her father. She will give away the child as she has done before.
Celie and her sister’s ways got separated. She gets married to a distant charmer and cruel man whom she calls “Mister”. By this time, Celie lost the ability to carry a child. Her husband flaunts his love and affection for another woman, Shug Avery. However, this novel is not about the suffering of Celie but about her victory. Shug Avery’s first words to Celie were “You as ugly as sin.” However, when she moves to their house, Celie obediently caters to Shug as her husband’s lover. Shug begins to see the beauty of Celie. It is through Shug Avery’s tenderness Celie learns what love is. Celie never thought about her smile, she learns she has a pretty smile when Shug Avery tells her so.
The Temple of My Familiar (1989)
The Temple of My Familiar travels in a non-linear way through time covering Africa, England, North America, South America, and more. Alice Walker takes liberties with the representation of human origins, telling a matriarchal story where men attempt to emulate the art form of pregnancy and female childbirth. With the help of multi-faceted characters and stories, Walker portrays that in every other person, there is a piece of us, our history. She communicated Carl Jung’s philosophy of the collective unconscious connected back through culture and time in significant ways.
Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)
Possessing the Secret of Joy tells the story of an African woman named Tashi. Tashi is also a minor character in Alice Walker’s 1982 novel The Color Purple. She is now in the United States and comes from Olinka. Olinka is Alice Walker’s fictional African country where female genital mutilation is practiced. She leaves Olinka because of the war after marrying an American man named Adam. Tashi is torn between the two cultures of Western and Olinka and chooses to go back to Olinka. She wants to have the operation in her teen years and honor her roots, though it is usually performed on female children. Later on, she sees many psychiatrists because she goes crazy due to the trauma. This novel explores what it means to have one’s gender culturally defined and comprehend that “Torture is not culture.”
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Most Famous Works of Alice Walker – Top 5