Compare and contrast how the authors of oranges are not the only fruit and the colour purple explore the journey from the religious back to the spiritual. One of the first things you notice about the way in which the two novels are introduced to us is that they are both written in the 1st person narrative, which proves how the reader is totally engaged with the central characters Jeanette and Celie right from the very start. Although the two novel are set around similar themes the moods of the two novels r completely different.
The two authors seem to have a completely different views and alternating religious beliefs which account for the main characters differences in their situations. The colour purple is all about Celies survival and struggle contend with problems of racism, sexism and opression of poverty. We also see Celies innocent attempts to cope with and deal with the abuse she suffers. The theme of homosexuality in the colour purple is what sets Celie free. Celie needed to find love and to be felt loved and she finds this within the comfort of Shug Avery this is how she then enters into her true self.
The first line of the novel reveals how powerful and domineering the abuser is and the knowing of the relationship celie shares with god. “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy. ” As the novel starts on this intimate note and is established as a personal dialouge from the beginning this remains important through the novel. The novel is written in a series of letters which gives such a narrow and biased perspective. The reader sees Celie unable to explore her feelings through the letters because of the restrictions of her education.
Jeanette’s confussion is due to contradictions she is faced with in her early life like how her religion has got in the way with her personal feelings, shes been brought up to think that what feels right to her is wrong, but is never explained to her. What confuses the situation even more is how the church life has no grey areas and the religion on which she is raised is based on absolutes. Another similarity we notice from the two novels is how jeanette and celie have one passive parent and one oppressive parent, where one is there to overlook the happenings in her life and the other abuses or opresses.
Both celie and jeanette are innocent and some would argue arrogant untill they both become in touch with their sexuality and independence. They also both struggle with their identity and are unsure of who they are and what their purpose is in life. Through the novel both characters progress slowly on their journey and are influenced by certain strong female characters. The narrative in both novels help to portray the suffering that is caused and how they overcome their struggle.
In the opening paragraph to Oranges are not the only fruit emphasis the “normality” of Jeanettes life “I lived for a long time with my mother and father” This quote also suggests that things have altered in her life, and evidence to prove there will be conflict between her and her mother throughout the novel. All through the novel her mother remains shut off to us not showing us her inner thoughts or feelings. Jeanette’s mother seems she is the wrestler constantly fighting battles from the beginning of the novel.
In both novels there are strong female characters who influence the main characters to carry out their journey and help them in the process of finding their inner self. After being felt rejected by her mother it is clear that the introduction of Elsie has a positive impact on Jeanettes life. Even thought the character of Elsie is structured and her life in the novel consists of a daily routine, praying once in the morning at 7am and then again in the evening at 7pm her character is very flexible
” I have my way” ” And the Lord has his” Suggesting how she is pretty open minded and flexible in her ways of thinking, unlike her mother who has a fixed way about church life and doesn’t really live outside that kind of life or its rules. It seems Elsie has a better way of living by not consisting on being trapped into a certain way of living by the rules of the church, she acts as a total opposite to her mother and this is the reason why Jeanette maybe be curious of other ways of living which are more suited to her way of thinking.
The way Elsie sees things is that God loves everybody and everything which proves on being a positive influence upon Jeanette, as the thought of God being present she sees things from a different perspective having different ideas about life. When Jeanette was ever present at Elsies home she played “led kindly light” On her organ making her feel wanted and apart of what she has done. ” her doing the keys, and me doing the pedals” They both share intimate moments together and Jeanette appreciates their quality time together as she doesn’t receive these kind of loving personal moments from her mother, this opens the world out to her.
Elsie acts like a proxy mother towards Jeanette giving her moral support and guidance and also help shes knows she can rely on. The fact that Elsie refers to her husband who used to play cricket for Lancashire proves to Jeanette that not only does Elsie care for herself but also for others and shares a kind warming heart towards Jeanette. Jeanettes mother never showed any interest towards her father so she never had the experience of what it was like to care for others.
She seems fascinated by some of the things on view in Elsies house which includes a collage of Noahs Ark this offered her a sense of colour and creativity towards life, where she was only ever seeing a black and white preview of things from the way in which her mother presented life towards her. When it comes to female impacts on Celies life not only does Shug have a huge part to play in Celies life changing performance but Nettie also shows her things and help her get along making her felt wanted.
She teaches her how to read, and helps her stick up for herself helping her to get by and come across what life threw at her. Her freedom of spirit is illustrated when she finally leaves Mr to enter into ” her creation” a natural paradise with Shug Avery through her new found love she has found a new voice and asserted her identity and by doing so she begins to free others by entering into her own business shows that may be free wherever in the world and how difficult their situation makes out to be.