Response Paper.docx - The Color Purple Portrayal on Race...

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4/29/19 The Color Purple: Portrayal on Race and Gender PAS 3822-01 1
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The film The Color Purple was created in 1985 by critically acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. The film was an adaptation of the same titled novel that was published in 1982 written by Alice Walker. The novel is that of a Black women’s literature and a statement to empower Black women themselves based off the perspectives and views of strong female characters in the book. However, the film provides that of the directors’ perspective and overshadows important character development by neutralizing. A novel that was created to empower colored women and to understand their perspective is all the sudden removed in the film to have that of male protagonist as the center of the story. This film not only changes the main character but also represents women in negative standards, includes subtle stereotypes, and drastically changes or messes with scenes that are powerful. Nonetheless, even if completely different from the novel there is still a few good things that Black women can depict from the film and relate to it. Throughout watching the film, the thing, I noticed that occurred a lot was the glossing over and cutting of scenes quickly which throws off the structure of the film. For example, 18 minutes into the film Nettie is now with her sister Celie at Misters (Albert) home to whom their father gave Celie off too. In this scene we hear Nettie talk about why she ran away from their fathers’ home to Celie, she tells Celie that “I just couldn’t keep him off of me, he tried everything, you know how he is.” As this is occurring there is a sunset in the background and children playing around with a cheery song playing on top of it. As Nettie and Celie are supposed to be having their moment, we get Mister come up to them and tell Nettie just how beautiful she is in the white dress she’s wearing. This scene is almost as similar as the one Jacqueline Bobo brought up in her analysis of this film. Bobo talks about the sex scene where Mister is having his way with Celie. While he’s all grunting and enjoying the moment, we get a shot of Celie laying there remembering about her sister to which the camera then pans over to a picture of Shug (his 2
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mistress) to back to Celie and then Mister falling into the frame saying “Jesus” as a sign of gratification. As Bobo stated, “What should have been an image of repulsion becomes one that emphasizes Mister's gratification…[scene] described above [is] one of insensate cruelty that are neutralized by their representation and privileging of Mister's reactions rather than that of the victims” (pg.283). The structure of the scene plays an important part of telling a character’s story and development. Not to mention it sets the tone on just how serious or happy or sad a scene is supposed to be. Like the scene I mentioned, I feel like the cheery music and the scenery takes
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  • Summer '17
  • Aminah Bakeer Abdul-Jabbaar
  • White people, Steven Spielberg, Afro-Latin American, Mister

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