Категория: Литература


Автор: Ся Сяодун

Социальная этика Алисы Уолкер

в романах «Меридиана» и «При свете улыбки моего отца»

Ся Сяодун

старший преподаватель, Институт иностранных языков Шэньянского политехнического университета, х1ах<Л 205@sina.com

Являясь писательницей с высокой социальной ответственностью, Алиса Уокер активно участвовала в движениях за гражданские права, женских движениях и демонстрациях. Эти переживания вдохновили ее на страсть к созданию новой социальной этики, достижению полового, расового равенства и развитию гармонии между человеком и природой. В данной статье рассматривается социальная этика Алисы Уокер в романах «Меридиана» и «При свете улыбки моего отца».

Alice Walker is famous black American woman "novelist, poet, campaigner" [1]. "Since she published the first collection of poems,Once in 1968, Walker has published five long novels, two collections of short novels, a biography of black writer Langston Hughes(1902-1967) for children and five volumes of poems."[2,C,5] Alice Walker ever won three important awards for American literature works: the National Book Award, and the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Meridian is published in 1976, the novel focus on self-growth of black girl, Meridian in South of America. Meridian has the strong sense of resistance, and tries her best to obtain courage and strength from nature and black folk culture, actively rebels the oppression from genders and races, at last realizes self-improvement, finds her own position in the revolutionary work. By the Light of My father&s Smile is published in 1998. The novel tells a story of father and daughters. In the beginning of the novel, the father oppresses his daughters. Next, relationship problem between father and daughters breaks out. At last, there is a compromise between father and daughters. In the novel, the father has patriarchy values. He does his utmost to interfere with the lives of the two daughter. With the influence of race culture, he gradually realize his own actions are not right, and begins to respect his two daughters from the bottom of his heart, expresses his sincere wishes to the daughters, thence the close father-daughter relationship returns to normal.

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1. Alice Walker&s Social Ethics on Genders In the novel Meridian, in the beginning, Meridian suffers the oppression from men everywhere, and doesn&t have her own voice. Eddie marries her only for producing offspring. There is no true love between Eddie and Meridian. After marriage, Meridian totally becomes a tool for serving Eddie, doesn&t completely have independent identify and equal status. With the upsurge of civil right movements, feminist movements and demonstration activities, Meridian gradually has the conscious of rebelling the oppression from males, pursuing the equality between genders, pursuing self-value. In the patriarchal black community, being a good mother is females& main responsibility. It is praised that females sacrifice everything for their family. When she face up to the choices: raise up her child or go to college to receive the education,

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Meridian resolutely decides to go to college to receive education and broaden their horizon instead of raising up her child. With the choice, Meridian rebels the social ethics proposed by patriarchal society. In the novel, Meridian shaves all her hair, wears neutralize clothes, Meridian takes external image to directly rebel the unequal gender ethics in the society. Meridian falls in love with Truman during the college. After she knows that Truman betrays her, Meridian completely discards the traditional social ethics in patriarchal society that females should grin and bear it. She decides not to be a female that thinks male is the center of the world. Meridian begins to positively dedicate herself to the revolutionary career in the pursuit of self-identify and self-value. Meridian units males, and considers them as partners in the revolutionary career. Meridian and males together engage in revolutionary struggle. She was respected by males, and she obtains the equal social status to males.

Alice Walker&s social ethics on genders is not only about the husband-wife relationship, but also includes father-daughter relationship. In By the Light of My father&s Smile, the father has patriarchy values. He plans the grown-up of daughters completely according to his own standards. The life of the eldest daughter is completely controlled by her father. Her father totally ignores the feeling and hobbies of the eldest daughter. What kind of clothes the eldest daughter should wear is even decided by her father. The eldest daughter has no her own voices under the oppression of her father. When the eldest daughter falls in love with a man. Her father strongly objects to her, and uses belt to whip her, which does not only totally break father-daughter relationship, but also casts a shadow on the youngest daughter who sees the whole course. From now on, the youngest daughter can&t naturally receive the love from the father. She begins to refuse to contact the males, and establish sisterhood with females. In the novel, the eldest daughter uses many extreme measures to rebel patriarchal ethics, for example, she eats a lot of food to become fatN destroys her own imageN interfere in the relationship between her father and the youngest daughter. The stiff resistances from daughters make the father reflect on himsef redefine the role of father. Under the influence of the race culture, father begins to respect the daughters& choices and ideas, daughters receive love from fathers again.

Alice Walker&s social ethics on genders in the novels Meridian and By the Light of My father&s Smile : females should dare to pursue self-identify and self-value, and dare to rebel the oppression from males, positively establish sisterhood among females. Males should admit self-identify of females and respect the females& ideas. Alice Walker thinks the relationship between males and females is not only equal, but also females and males as partners cooperate together in the lives and work; in the

terms of father-daughter relationship, fathers should set up good examples for daughters anytime.

2. Alice Walker&s Social Ethics on Races

In the novel Meridian, the idea " the white has the highest position and has privilege in the society" is deeply engraved in the heart of people. Truman worship the white very much, discriminate and hurt the black woman Meridian. As a black woman Meridian suffer race discrimination. Civil rights movement awaken the conscious of Meridian&s pursuit of race equality. Meridian dare to establish friendship with the white female. When the white female in the novel is hurt and sad, Meridian try her best to help her and comfort her. In the novel, a man respect Indians very much, and establishes friendship with Indians. The race discrimination is broke by the friendship among different races. In the novel, the race discrimination is also broke by the marriage between different races, for example, black males marry the white females. Braids and curly black hair are the Black&s traditional hair style, which is a traditional characteristic of showing black identify. A lot of blacks are lack of sense of national pride and recognition of national identity. In the course of races blending together, many blacks discard some traditional black characteristics, and choose aesthetic standards advocated by the white, for example, hair is straightened. But Meridian who has a high sense of national pride keep wearing black traditional hair style: braids and curly black hair in order to highlight the race identify of the black. By wearing black traditional hair style, Meridian voicelessly but powerfully rebel "the white is the center of the world" social ethics on races, and then protect the culture of her own race. Meridian loves her own race culture, and spares no effort to defend the characteristics of the traditional culture on her own race, and then she wants to make a world where races are equal instead of blending races together. In the novel, the writer plans a plot of telling black folk story on purpose. Besides traditional black hair, black folk story is also the important traditional race culture of the blacks. The blacks can obtain huge courage and sense of race pride from black folk stories, and then powerfully rebel the social ethics that focus on the values advocated by the whites, defend the social ethics advocated by the blacks, and then establish a society where different races are equal.

Alice Walker&s social ethics on races in the novel Meridian: Alice Walker advocates that people must have the high sense of race pride anytime, love the traditional race culture, try to obtain the power from the traditional culture of their own race, positively establish friendship with other races, and positively establish a harmonious society where different races are equal.

3. Alice Walker&s Social Ethics on Nature

In the novel Meridian, the blacks get the help from nature. In the novel, human being and nature are harmonious instead of being opposite. In the college where Meridian studies, there a tree planted by Black female Louvinie. The tree can "speak, sing, and protect people" only fair ceremony in the college is

hold in a big tree, at that time the tree is regarded as the leaders that call for establishing a equal society. Meridian&s father love nature very much. Under the influence of father, Meridian likes getting close to nature very much. After she gets close to nature every time, she can get huge power and courage, her thinking becomes maturer. Meridian find herself in the new perspective. Before, human thought that nature must be conquered, and human being must rebel nature. In the novel, Meridian can regard nature and human being as organic system. She ever feels that she loves her children as the same as trees or the moon.

In By the Light of My father&s Smile, Alice Walker creates a fictional tribe. Alice Walker&s social ethics on nature can be dug out from the fictional tribe and the eldest daughter. In the fictional tribe, everyone respect and worship nature. A father&s love for his children is compared as the light of the moon. The eldest daughter "loves nature, and likes &jumping around on the big cobblestones" [2,C,262]

The eldest daughter is a woman who is in the beautiful nature.

Alice Walker fully realizes that human being think that conquering nature and rebelling nature is the right choice, which is the main thinking source of destroying ecological environment. Therefore, Alice Walker concerns about the nature and hopes to establish the harmonious relationship between human being and nature in many works. In Meridian and By the Light of My father&s Smile, in the terms of social ethics on nature, Alice Walker regards the harmonious relationship between nature and human being as the basic of establishing all the equal relationships among human being; human being must worship nature^ respect nature, positively obtain power and courage from the nature. Alice Walker thinks that human being must realize that the equal relationship between human being and nature is the basic of setting up reasonable social ethics from the bottom of human being&s heart.

Alice Walker&s Social Ethics in Meridian and By the Light of My father&s Smile

Xia Xiaodong

Shenyang Ligong University

Alice Walker is a famous writer with a high sense of social responsibility. She ever actively take part in civil rights movement, women movement, demonstration activities. These experiences inspired her passionate that she writes the novels in order to establish reasonable Social Ethics, realize the equality between sexes and races, promote the harmony between human being and nature. The paper takes Meridian and By the Light of My father&s Smile as the object of study, summarizes Alice Walker&s Social Ethics in the two novels.


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Light of My Father&s Smile of Alice Walker from an Ecofeminist Perspective.[J]. Overseas English, 2011:262.

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