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‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

Compare and contrast the ways both Walker and Winterson present the protagonist experience in ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ respectively.

Both ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Oranges are not the only Fruit’ are novels, which are greatly similar despite being written in different times and different countries. There are some subtle differences, which are underlying in both of the novels, which are discussed further on.

Winterson and Walker both write about the liberation of their characters. Winterson seems to focus on the main character, Janette, (using a narrative technique) and this creates an indication that the novel is autobiographical. Walker uses Epistolary technique, which creates a similar feeling to Winterson’s autobiographical method, however, Walker’s main difference is that her main character, Celie, concentrates on what the other characters are feeling around her. This makes the reader feel as though he or she is entering into Celie’s world.

These two novels enter homosexuality in completely contrasting ways. ‘The Color Purple’ sees it as what sets Celie free. Celie needs to feel love, and she finds it within Shug Avery. Others do not try to repress her true nature at this point, as Celie becomes much more assertive with Shug around, and enters into her true self.

‘You a lowdown dog is what’s wrong, I say. It’s time to leave you and enter the Creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need.’

In ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’, Janette’s homosexuality is frowned upon, and her ‘family’ attempt to discourage her by making her repent, and try to convince her that the ‘demon’ has a hold on her. Janette truly does not understand why she cannot love both God and a woman. Indeed, she hears men being bad-talked by many women around her, and decides that she doesn’t want to marry a man.

‘You should never have married him’ Scolded Nellie.

‘I didn’t know what he was when I married him did I?’

And she told Nellie about the war and how

her dad liked him, and how it seemed sensible. ‘I should have guessed though, what kind of man

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comes round to court you, and ends up drinking with your dad instead?’

She finally decides that she must keep her ‘demon’ hidden from others, in order to find the love that her family and the church do not offer to her.

Colour references occur frequently in both novels. Walker uses this colour orientation to portray nature. As Celie opens up as a character, she begins to find peace by seeing God in nature, largely due to Shug’s views, which she shares with Celie.

‘I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.’

Incidentally Nettie uses a similar reference when she’s in Africa

‘So and so is blacker then black, he’s blueblack.’

This is when Nettie has just arrived in Africa and she is full of hope that Samuel, Corinne, and herself can educate many people who haven’t had the chance for a full education. The black people everywhere seem to liberate her in some way, as in America; there would not be just a throng of black people. There would be white people as well, overseeing everything, making them feel like second-class citizens.

In Winterson’s novel, the use of colour is portrayed as a much more contrasted view. Colour occurs in the form of demons, which only Janette can see.

‘Can love really belong to the demon? What sort of demon? The brown demon that rattles the ear? The red demon that dances he hornpipe? The watery demon that causes sickness? The orange demon that beguiles?’

The use of the orange demon takes place several times.

‘If I let them take away my demons, I’ll have to give up what I’ve found.’

‘You can’t do that said a voice at my elbow.

Leaning on the coffee table was the orange demon.’

Janette finally realises that the demon is something inside her that makes her unique, and as the orange demon explains is an aura.

Well, the demon you get depends on the colour of your aura, yours is orange which is why you’ve got me. Your mother’s is brown which is why she’s so odd, and Mrs White’s is hardly a demon at all.

After her encounter with her demon, Janette accepts her homosexuality, and hides it from her mother and the church. As she explains to the demon

‘I’m not getting rid of you, but this is the best way that I can think of.’

Unlike Celie, Janette has to come to terms with her homosexuality, as she almost beings to believe that there is some kind of satanic demon inhabiting her body. Celie has no problems with her sexuality, and never seems to agonise over it the way that Janette has to.

In conclusion, it seems that although both Walker and Winterson’s novels are about the liberation of women both sexually and physically, they both carry the subject matter in different way. I believe this to be largely due to the fact that Winterson wrote her novel in England, after the Second World War.

Walker’s novel is set about two decades earlier, and in Southern America. Therefore these authors had different views and alternating religious beliefs, which account for the main characters differences in their situations.

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