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Journal Article

"A View from 'Elsewhere' ": Subversive Sexuality and the Rewriting of the Heroine's Story in The Color Purple

Linda Abbandonato
PMLA
Vol. 106, No. 5 (Oct., 1991), pp. 1106-1115
DOI: 10.2307/462683
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462683
Page Count: 10
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"A View from 'Elsewhere' ": Subversive Sexuality and the Rewriting of the Heroine's Story in The Color Purple
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Abstract

By telling the story of the "invisible woman"-a character traditionally silenced and effaced in fiction-The Color Purple challenges patriarchal constructions of femininity and female desire and makes representation itself a compelling issue. Initially, the great twentieth-century cultural narratives of sexuality and socialization, Freud's oedipal theory and Lévi-Strauss's theory of kinship systems and the exchange of women, are played out in the drama of Celie's life. But this differently crafted, quilted novel is also differently sexual; it replots the heroine's text within an alternative framework of desire and disrupts the symbolic order with its carnivalesque celebration of polymorphously perverse pleasure.

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