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Alice Walker

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Unit 4 Everyday Use for Your Grandmama (3)

I. Black literature

A. Before the Civil War (the abolitionist movement)

1. Origin: folksongs, ballads and spiritual fork literature in oral form in the 18th.c.

2. Theme: the bitter experience of the Black people

B. The abolitionist movement and the Civil War (1861?): brought a new impetus to Black Literature. The Black novel developed at the turn of the present century, but really nothing significant appeared until the publication of the widely acclaimed novel.

C. Flourishing period: the Harlem Renaissance in 1920s (Harlem: a neighborhood of poor Black slum in the Northeast part of N.Y City. In the 1930s, the Black novel assumed an increasing importance. The White Literature took a completely different route.

D. The 1960s proved to be a turbulent period for the US when the theme of Black Literature was transmitted to the need for power, equality and economic status.

II. Alice Walker

Alice Walker is regarded as one of the most prominent writers in American literature and a most forceful representative of women's literature and black literature.

A. Personal experience

1. Born in 1944; lost one eye at the age of 8 when playing baby guns with her elder brother by accidents

2. At the age of 18, she received college education

3. She was actively involved in political movement - a activist and a womanist

4. She was a case worker for the NY City Welfare Department

5. She was a teacher of creative writing and black literature in Yale and University of California.

B. Professional experience as a writer

1. Beginning: the publication of a volume of poetry in 1968

2. following: novels short stories, critical essays and more poetry.

3. Unit 4 is in one of her works In Love and Trouble (a collection of short stories)

4. Her most significant novel is The Color Purple, published in 1982, which won all the three major book awards in America - Pulitzer Prize, the national Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel was an instant bestseller and made into an equally successful movie in 1985.

5. The theme of her work: preservation of black culture, particularly the struggle of black women in a sexist and racist society.

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