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The Color Purple

Essay by   •  December 2, 2012  •  Essay  •  2,257 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,252 Views

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Sociology is defined as the study of human society according to Conley (2011). Sociologist C. Wright Mills (1889) defined social imagination as the ability to connect the most basic, intimate aspects of an individual's life to seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces. Understanding social imagination is important in understanding the reasons problems exist in society, by analyzing and evaluating different thought processes and perspectives. The ability to use reason and logic to understand differences in culture, allows individuals the opportunity to interact to customs and values. Through social imagination, individuals are able to identify problems and social issues by communicating beliefs, which are relevant to one's life by acknowledging injustices amongst social classes, genders, origins, and race. Social issues arise by individuals accepting their position in society.

Social problems are caused by environmental factors affecting society, whereas personal problems only affect the individual. Locus of control is a theory in which individuals control the events that affect them internally or externally. Internal locus of control is defined as an individual who can control their life by believing in one's ability to overcome obstacles. Individuals with a high degree of Internal locus of control are highly self motivated, and ambitious. These individuals are proven to be more successful in life due to their consistent dedication to achieving their goals.

The theory of internal locus of control is the power to overcome environmental factors which often inhibit people from obtaining success. In contrast, external locus of control is defined as an individual who believes their life is controlled by their environment. These individuals are often led by others in their culture and fail to achieve success due to the lack of self motivation. An individual with a high degree of external locus of control, often blame social institutions for selecting their position in life based on their culture. In America, the elite often require their offspring to attend institutions of higher learning, that teach internal locus of control practices. Whereas many individuals in low income areas, are often limited to only attending select institutions of higher learning, which do not emphasize internal self locus of control. Self efficacy is the measure of an individual's likelihood to succeed based on different motivational factors such as, the desire to reach goals.

To fully understand sociology in film, I selected, The Color Purple to research, because it personally demonstrated the trials and tribulations southern African American women; faced after slavery; such as sexism. The Color Purple is a film directed by Steven Spielberg in 1985 based in the early 1900's after the end of slavery. Whoopi Goldberg is the main actress in the film who role is Celie, a poor African American woman in the south. There are additional actors and actress who play a significant role in The Color Purple such as Danny Glover (Albert) who mentally and physically abuses Celie throughout her marriage. Oprah Winfrey (Sofia) is a strong woman that stands up for what she believe is right, and does not let anyone take advantage or abuse her. Willard E. Pugh (Harpo) is a weak-minded man who is the son of Albert and married to Sofia. Margaret Avery (Avery) is Albert's mistress, who becomes Celie's best friend after giving her confidence.

As an, African American woman I appreciate the sacrifices African American historically experienced , such as abuse, discrimination, and disrespect to secure individual rights. The integrity of the film is relevant to my everyday life, because it showed the power of women. The independence and strength of the black women in the film are present, despite the abuse and poverty they encountered. The film taught me culturally different hardships black women had to face, and the importance of overcoming adversity. Black women conquered sexism by opening a trouser boutique for men and women during a time when women were forced to wear dresses. The film proved that women can change society, by supporting their values and what they believe is right.

A social issue is a matter that can indirectly or directly affect a person in society. The social issue, I am identifying in The Color Purple is sexism. In the film, The Color Purple sexism is an integral part of the film and culture in the Deep South. According to Conley (2011) "Sexism occurs when a person's sex or gender is the basis for judgment, discrimination, and hatred against him or her." The Color Purple clearly depicts women being treated inferior and vulnerable to violence, disrespect, and discrimination. In the south the balance of power that men had over women was prominent in this film. In the film, societal values demanded women obey all men, including their husbands, forfeiting their individual rights. Men had advantage over women due to the privilege of wealth and gender. In The Color Purple the cultural values in society dictated specific gender roles which shifted the power to men.

The men were skilled farmers and landowners providing shelter and food for their families. In contrast, the women were uneducated homemakers forced to tend to children and the animals. Men had power to sell their daughters to men seeking marriage, in exchange for money or animals, which resulted in women forced into unhappy and unhealthy marriages. Celie's father sold her daughter to a reverend for money without Celie knowledge, stripping her rights as a mother. Celie was sold by her father to Albert to become his servant, instead of her younger sister, Nettie. The young girls had no chose, but to obey their fathers' rights. And absolutely no opinion regarding the man they would marry.

In the film, Celie is beaten down by life and accepts her position as a woman in her sexist community. Celie had no self -confidence in herself and was illiterate due to her gender role in society. Celie allowed her father to rape her and birthed two children by him, because incest was normal part of the culture. Her father manipulated Celie into thinking that he raping her was not a crime. Celie knew that having sex with her father was wrong, but felt she had no other chose, but to just accept the abuse which resulted in the birth of two children.

Celie was not allowed to have any connections with the children she bore by her father; to prevent her from experiencing a maternal bond. After she gave birth, her father arranged an illegal

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