Alice Walker, the critically acclaimed author of The Color Purple, is certainly an inspiring presence in the literary world. Her moving stories speak to the fragility of the human experience and her colorful writing encourages us to find the beauty in every moment.
This Black History Month, we celebrate the men and women who have greatly shaped history by providing indispensable contributions to countless dimensions of society; Alice Walker’s literary talents and accomplishments are nothing less than extraordinary. Here are seven of her poignant quotes that will inspire you this Wednesday.
image via the new yorker
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
2. “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.” – Revolutionary Petunias
3. “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” – The Color Purple
4. “The more I wonder, the more I love.” – The Color Purple
9. “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” – Revolutionary Petunias
Featured image via imgur
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Why is it that the most philosophical books are often the most controversial?
Literature that makes audiences question the basic fabric of society is known to be the most profound. Questioning our current atmosphere is what allows humanity to develop intellectually. Yet, it’s only normal for people to fear the questioning of society, as history shows that it frequently leads to change.
There are a few books that come to mind that pose an abundance of deep, philosophical questions. Yet, institutions around the world, from school curriculums to entire nations, have banned them for various reasons. Granted, these books are filled with content not usually suitable for adolescents, but in the right context with teachers who know the right way to communicate these topics to their students, they can have an incredible impact.
These are some of the most famous controversial books that have also been banned in a few areas.
The famous novella about the corruption of socialist ideals in the Soviet Union was, of course, banned in the Stalinist USSR. Its position as a banned book has lasted far beyond the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s still banned in North Korea and Cuba for similar reasons as to why it was banned in the Soviet Union. Strangely enough, it was even banned in the United Arab Emirates for portraying a talking pig, which was seen as conflicting with Islamic ideas.
Although this book has received both the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, it has continually been confronted and banned for it’s highly controversial content, such as social and sexual explicitness. Although the novel does consist of abuse and sexual assault, it’s a central part of the narrative, and it is what makes the book so genuine. In spite of all the controversies, however, the book was adapted into a movie in 1985, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.
The Catcher in the Rye is a unique novel in that it is one of the most frequently banned books, yet one of the most taught throughout American schools. The book is banned because it depicts teenage rebellion, and its portrayal of debauchery, drinking, and defiance. Yet, defenders of the novel see it as the pinnacle of the frustrations and mental dilemmas of the teenage years. The protagonist Holden Caulfield depicts genuine thoughts of the loss of authenticity as we get older, and has become an integral part of English curriculums around the world.
This book centers around an unstable investment banker who describes his daily activities, such as taking drugs and going to nightclubs. It soon becomes clear that he is mentally unstable, thus making him an unreliable narrator. Though the book does develop into more of a satire, there is a lot of graphic detail of murder, rape, and cannibalism. It’s no wonder that the book is banned in various areas. According to ABC News, the book cannot be sold to anyone under the age of eighteen in Australia. American Psycho was also highly denounced by feminist activist Gloria Steinem for portraying violence towards women.
What do you guys think? Have these books been fairly criticized? Let us know in the comments!
Bad dads are a massive inspiration when it comes to literature and media, a broad spectrum of general douchebaggery that ranges from King Triton’s overbearing & possessive nature to Anakin Skywalker’s… well, everything. Luke, I am the source of all your issues going into adulthood! The ones that aren’t actively bad are frequently absent or neglectful, perfect fodder for creating plot conflict or generating sympathy for the protagonist. So, happy Father’s Day weekend to the dads that don’t suck! While we could never compile each and every one of literature’s shittiest dads, these seven will make even the most mediocre among you glow in comparison.
(Obviously, spoiler alert for all the books featured below!)
Yup, it’s Oedipus’ dad—one of the only dads worse than Oedipus himself, whose behavior invited some intense scrutiny upon his two daughters, Ismene and the badass Antigone. It’s pretty f*cked up to abandon your child on top of a mountain, even if you HAVE heard he’s going to kill you and then nail your sexy wife, Jacosta. We all know that Oedipus’ fulfilment of the prophecy actually came about because of this blunder: not knowing his parentage, he murdered his father and bedded his mother without any recognition of what he’d done. But even if you’re pro-hillside-abandonment and think it was a justifiable move, why didn’t Laius just kill the kid and save everyone a lot of trouble???
With enormous power comes an enormous chance of being a d*ck to your children. We’ve heard of divorced daddies’ cliche-riddled ploys to buy their children’s love. Lear actually expects his three daughters to buy his love, saying that Goneril loves him twice as much as Reagan because she offers twice the number of soldiers. He also calls his daughters “unnatural hags,” which we imagine is an untrue statement, given the lack of Sharpie brows and lip fillers back in Shakespeare’s day. Also, maybe Reagan and Goneril would have gotten along better (and hated their father a lot less) if Lear hadn’t obviously favored Cordelia. Some people say the play is an exploration of nature versus nurture, but there wasn’t really a whole lot of nurturing.
And here’s Humbert Humbert at number three, proving that this list is not in order of sh*ttiness. Humbert Squared is an evil pedophile who tricks a woman into marrying him so that he can have easy access to her twelve-year-old daughter, Lo—a girl he calls Lolita. When the girl’s mother discovers Humbert’s perverted motives in his journal, she runs to spread the news and is hit by an oncoming car. Humbert destroys the journal pages and takes legal custody of Lo, a position of power he abuses to coerce her into sex with gifts and threats that life would be far worse in an orphanage.
My parents sure didn’t let me get a tattoo when I was in my senior year of high school. Now, obviously that’s secondary to raising your child in a cult centered around the concept of blood purity. While every parent has a responsibility to keep their children safe, Lucius got involved with Magic Manson, an irresistible leader so dangerous that he’d be safer in jail than facing Voldy’s wrath. (Not to mention, of course, that’s he’s obviously a massive racist and literal slaveowner who mistreated Dobby.) He also tried to force his son to murder someone, either by dangling the carrot of his approval in front of Draco’s nose or by reminding him, helpfully, that Voldemort would likely kill Draco if he failed.
Ideally, fathers would share words of wisdom with their children. Apparently, some say: “I’m right & you’re wrong. I’m big & you’re small, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Ideally, fathers would embody the values that they want from their children. Apparently, some sell dangerously broken cars to customers that will run for ten minutes and then break down. Mr. Wormwood is a verbally abusive sh*tbag who happily abandons his child with a random schoolteacher he doesn’t personally know. Is Matilda better off with Miss Honey? Um, obviously. Is it still pretty messed up that he didn’t care at all about keeping his only daughter? ABSOLUTELY.
Here’s a heads up that this depiction of parental abuse is pretty graphic. Considering that Humbert Humbert is on the list and THIS one needs a disclaimer, you can imagine the level of violence. Alphonso beats and violates his daughter, Celie, which has resulted twice in pregnancy. The first child, he took to the woods and murdered. Her father also steals the second child and takes a second wife—though he still keeps Celie close and abuses her physically. Despite his fixation on Celie, Alphonso frequently calls his daughter ugly and gives her away to a man who doesn’t love her. And the icing on the f*cked-up cake? Alphonso isn’t really Celie’s father: he’s her stepfather, pretending to be her father in order to inherit her deceased mother’s property.
The devil’s in the details, and Valentine certainly didn’t miss the smallest one. He fed demon blood instead of Gerber’s fruit goo to his firstborn Jonathan Christopher, basically guaranteeing that the newborn would be an unhinged, child-murdering sociopath for the rest of his life. After his wife ran off with their daughter, Valentine found a RANDOM CHILD (Jace), convinced Jace that he was Jace’s real father, and then faked his own death violently in front of the kid. When Valentine reappears and finds Jace and his daughter Clary, he lets them (falsely!!!) believe they’re biological siblings—which is definitely a problem, since they’ve been dating. Oh yeah, and Valentine also murdered Jace’s pet hawk before telling the boy: “to love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be the one destroyed.” Is that the reason Jace has a reputation of sleeping around? Who knows? It’s not like that kid ever saw a therapist.
Exciting news for literature and musical fans! The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd was already critically acclaimed as both a novel and its feature film adaptation starring Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and Queen Latifah. The novel was a bestseller on the New York Times’s bestsellers list. The novel itself dealt with weighty emotional issues, including child abuse and trauma. Beautifully written, it deals with its issues with maturity and grace, making for a potentially excellent stage adaptation.
Image Via Twitter
LaChanze, famed for her role in The Color Purple, will play beekeeper August Boatwright. Other cast members have been announced to be Eisa Davis as June, Manoel Felciano as T-Ray, Lily’s abusive father, Brett Gray as Zach, and Anastacia McCleskey as May. Set to begin previews on May 12th, 2019, the play will begin an off-Broadway show starting in June and eventually is eyeing a Broadway transfer. The play will feature music by Duncan Sheik and will be directed by Sam Gold. Performances will end July 7th but we hope this proves popular enough to get the eyes of Broadway! The show will deal with themes of faith, spirituality, and healing.
We can’t wait to see this book come alive on stage!
Sometimes, we look to our friends to be better people. Since you probably just rang in the New Year watching all of your friends sing badly and injure themselves while intoxicated, maybe you’re looking for a role model who’s a little more respectable. Here’s a list of ten literary characters who can inspire us to be better people in the year 2019—as long as we emulate only their positive qualities. (Katniss Everdeen did kill dozens of people.)
1. Atticus Finch
Gif Via Tumblr.com
A more inspirational lawyer than most actual lawyers, Harper Lee‘s beloved character Atticus Finch is a role model in the poor Southern town of Maycomb during the Great Depression. He’s empathetic, forgiving, respectful, an excellent parent… and he puts everything on the line to defend a black man in court in the 1930s, even when the racists in town don’t understand why. His rigid commitment to what’s right has served as an inspiration for many practicing lawyers, and his commitment to his beliefs is particularly relevant in times of division, violence, and injustice. (Yes, we’re ignoring the fact that he becomes a crotchety old racist in Go Set a Watchman—as are all of the parents who named their kids after him.)
2. Hermione Granger
Gif Via Huffingtonpost.com
Listen-Harry might be brave and bold, but he’s no Ravenclaw. We all know Hermione is smart and loyal, constantly staying all night in the library to get the goods for her friends. And we would never forget how socially aware she can be, standing up for the rights of house elves and shutting down slurs left and right. But you might’ve forgotten how she deals with snitches and bitches: when Cho Chang’s friend leaks the details of Dumbledore’s Army, Hermoine finds out it was her via the sign-up sheet’s enchanted paper. Anyone who betrays the trust of the group will have the word SNEAK appear across their face in boils—which honestly would leave a pretty gross scar. This 2019, let’s all learn from Hermione not to mess around.
3. Nancy Drew
Image Via Variety.com
Some people never land their dream jobs. Some people do it when they’re sixteen years old. Nancy Drew is big time goals for a number of reasons, not the least of which the fact that she’s a female detective originally from the 1930s—not a time big on respecting girls or children. She also graduated high school at the age of sixteen, meaning she must have remained pretty focused despite catching criminals. She also had more hobbies than books written about her, which is pretty impressive given her multi-decade run. Nancy is hardly the only genius detective out there, but she’s never been accused of blazing it 24/7 (Shaggy from Scooby Doo) or injecting cocaine (Sherlock Holmes).
Image Via Tabletmag.com
So maybe Eloise is just a wildly overprivileged six-year-old who roller-skates down the hallways of the Plaza Hotel. Eloise is at once extremely wealthy and a child, meaning she doesn’t have to pay for anything and has no responsibilities. While it’s unlikely we’ll shirk off all debt in the year 2019 and eat solely hotel room service, there’s nothing wrong with childlike enthusiasm in adult circumstances. (But there is something wrong with pouring champagne down mail chutes.)
5. Lady Macbeth
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2019 should definitely not be the year you kill someone. (2018 also should not have been the year you killed someone, though we’d understand if you considered it.) But this is a year for going after your dreams will all the wrath of this Shakespearean heroine. Want a better job? Get one! Want a healthier relationship? You go! Want the King of Scotland dead? You know what to do.
6. Jay Gatsby
Gif Via Gfycat.com
Maybe he does end up dead in a swimming pool. But listen—have you ever wanted something so badly you moved across the country, changed your name, broke the law, and became a mysterious billionaire celebrity to almost get it? This year, go after your goals with all the obsession and straight-up panache of Jay Gatsby. Just do your best not to be an accomplice to a hit-and-run.
7. Samwise Gamgee
Gif Via Giphy.com
Following a year of political unpleasantness (and likely entering another year of political unpleasantness), let’s all take inspiration from a loyal friend who has never done anything wrong. If Lord of the Rings‘ Samwise Gamgee can become the only person to ever willingly give up the Ring, you can probably, like, eat a salad every now and then.
8. Janie Crawford
Image Via Essence.com
Zora Neale Hurston‘s Their Eyes Were Watching Goddetails the life story of Janie Crawford, who escapes abusive and unsatisfying relationships to find love, respect, freedom, and financial independence. (Goals!) Janie Crawford rejects her role as the trophy wife of a violent husband to run far away with a kindhearted drifter. (Oh, and when her abusive husband dies, she gets all his money.) Enduring onslaughts of both nature and man, Janie survives a hurricane to become a stronger person and returns to her hometown in possession of a fascinating, well-lived life. While it would be best not to almost drown, be put on trial for murder, and have multiple of your loved ones die this 2019, we can (probably) become better versions of ourselves without the terrible bits.
Image Via Blogspot.com
In Alice Walker‘s The Color Purple, Sofia defies gender roles and existing power struggles with her physical and mental strength. Is your goal for 2019 to work out? Maybe you’ll get so jacked you can punch abusers. Sofia’s physical strength allows her to take over as the head of the household, performing labor traditionally reserved for men, and negate her husband’s attempts at physical control. Not only can Sofia defy those in her life who want to hurt her, but she can also leave them. It’s never too early in the year to cut toxic people from your life—just don’t get arrested while doing it.
10. Katniss Everdeen
Image Via Giphy.com
If you’ve ever wanted to change the world, then guess what? Real life is a dystopia, and what you do in your day-to-day existence is probably exactly what you’d do as a fictional character. If you’d rather be a hero, try considering the ways in which you can better the world without killing dozens of children.