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The color purple - Research Paper Example

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[Author’s Name] The Color Purple Women's potential transformation from victim to heroine, from object to author, finds a model in the hysteric: a woman who struggles against the existing paradigms of sexual and linguistic oppression to find her voice…
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The color purple

Download file to see previous pages... It'd kill your mammy" (1). What Celie is forbidden to articulate publicly is her repeated rape by the man she believes to be her father; this violation of both Celie's body and her voice speaks of an underlying socio-linguistic censorship that relegates the female subject to an objectified position, as passive, absent, and silent. In this paradigm the maternal must be sacrificed if the subject is to speak. The relationship between Celie and Alphonso illustrates this phenomenon, as the paternal interdiction relies upon the premise that if Celie speaks, she is forsaking her "mammy" (1). Celie comes to represent this forced contract between a woman and the Law of the Father, where a female's body, spirit, and speech are sacrificed in an act of socio-symbolic rape; however, as Celie's subversive authorship suggests, it is a sacrifice she is unwilling to make. In her article "Women's Time," Julia Kristeva speaks of the role language plays in violating female subjectivity; she states, "a new generation of women is showing that its major social concern has become the socio-symbolic contract as a sacrificial contract, …that they are forced to experience this sacrificial contract against their will" (Kristeva’ ‘Women’s Time’ 25). ...
e, identification with the sacrificial logic of separation and syntactical sequence at the foundation of language and the social code leads to the rejection of the symbolic--lived as the rejection of the paternal function and ultimately generating psychoses" (Kristeva’ ‘Women’s Time’ 25). The psychoses that Kristeva identifies can be seen as reflecting hysterical discontent, as a conflict of gender that is realized through linguistic disruption. Kristeva posits two possible strategies to counter the exclusion and silence experienced by women: the first, to attempt to possess the symbolic by adopting the dominant ideology; the second, to approach language as a "personal affect experienced when facing it as subject and as a woman" (Kristeva’ ‘Women’s Time’ 24). Such an approach suggests a need to "break the code, to shatter language, to find a specific discourse closer to the body and emotions, to the unnamable repressed by the social contract" (Kristeva’ ‘Women’s Time’ 24-25). Kristeva's perspective of language posits a revolt against the exclusion of the symbolic contract. In About Chinese Women, Kristeva identifies women as able "to give a name" to the repressed, as able to restore the body back to a place of significance (Kristeva ‘About Chinese Women’ 30-35). In this context, the body becomes intertwined with Kristeva's notion of the semiotic, as a sort of expression that exists outside of the symbolic, preceding language while simultaneously existing within language, albeit in a repressed form. Semiotic discourse moves beyond the symbolic by opposing structures of exclusion. The mother-child bond becomes the definitive relationship of semiotic discourse, as it exists beyond binary differences of gender and sexuality. When viewed in this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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