The Collective Unconscious and Rape Archetype in Toni Morrison’s

God Help the Child and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

نموذج اللاوعي الجماعي و الاغتصاب في الرب يساعد الطفل لتوني موريسون و اللون الارجواني لاليس والكر

L’archétype collectif de l’inconscient et du viol chez Toni Morrison Dieu aide l’enfant et Alice Walker la couleur pourpre.

Lilia Zenadji

Lilia Zenadji, « The Collective Unconscious and Rape Archetype in Toni Morrison’s », Aleph [], 9 (2) | 2022, 12 February 2021, 18 May 2024. URL :

This paper explains the concept of collective unconscious and discusses the rape archetypes as illustrated in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Collective unconscious, also referred to as objective psyche is the idea that there are certain behaviors and characteristics among human beings that are inherited, and not necessarily acquired based on personal experiences. The discussion revolves around how some of the behaviors among the African Americans and their notions regarding themselves are natural rather than based on the history of discrimination. Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child reveals how African Americans are affected by inherent trauma. Alice Walker’s work further develops the thesis by explaining the construction of rape archetypes through the depiction of her female characters in relation to Philomela’s myth.

هذه الورقة تفسر مفهوم اللاوعي الجماعي وتناقش نماذج الاغتصاب كما هو موضح في توني موريسون الله مساعدة الطفل وأليس ووكر اللون الأرجواني. أما اللاوعي الجماعي ، الذي يشار إليه أيضا بالنفس الموضوعية ، فهو فكرة وجود بعض السلوكيات والخصائص بين البشر الموروثة ، وليس بالضرورة الحصول عليها استنادا إلى التجارب الشخصية. وتدور المناقشة حول كيف أن بعض السلوكيات بين الأمريكيين الأفارقة ومفاهيمهم فيما يتعلق بأنفسهم طبيعية وليست قائمة على أساس تاريخ التمييز.ويكشف فيلم “مساعدة الطفل” الذي أطلقه توني موريسون عن مدى تأثر الأميركيين الأفارقة بالصدمات النفسية المتأصلة. عمل أليس ووكر المزيد من تطوير الأطروحة من خلال شرح بناء نماذج الاغتصاب من خلال تصوير شخصياتها الأنثوية فيما يتعلق بأسطورة فيلوميلا.

Cet article explique le concept d’inconscient collectif et discute des archétypes du viol comme illustré dans God Help the Child de Toni Morrison et The Color Purple d’Alice Walker. L’inconscient collectif, aussi appelé psyché objective, est l’idée qu’il y a certains comportements et certaines caractéristiques parmi les êtres humains qui sont hérités, et pas nécessairement acquis à partir d’expériences personnelles. La discussion tourne autour de la façon dont certains des comportements parmi les Afro-Américains et leurs notions concernant eux-mêmes sont naturelles plutôt que fondées sur l’histoire de la discrimination. Dieu aide l’enfant de Toni Morrison révèle comment les Afro-Américains sont affectés par le traumatisme inhérent. Le travail d’Alice Walker approfondit la thèse en expliquant la construction des archétypes du viol à travers la représentation de ses personnages féminins en relation avec le mythe de Philomela.
Inconscient collectif, viol archetype, philomela, afro americain, discrimination, traumatisme.


In Morrison’s repertoire, child violence, bigotry and extensive victimization, particularly interpersonal and collective, are being widely discussed. Her new story, God Help the Child, that recalls her first book, reimagines the horrors of child violence, negligence and assault, “They also shoulder the burden of all the challenges within societies in the novel, the actual victims of deprivation and systemic racism” (Umrigar). Morrison therefore reveals the harm caused on youngsters by various elements (relatives, cultural heritage and society at large) and the enduring effect it will have on their development, as she puts it, “what you do for children matters. And maybe they’ll never forget” (Morrison 43). Morrison is really focused on the incapacitating effect of childhood abuse. Morrison, though, is still keen in finding out how to truly rebound from the actions of the past tragedies. She tells us how her protagonists challenge and regain their futures with their agony and misery. God Help the Child is a traumatic violence and suffering story, but it is also a soothing and redeeming story.

By the same token, Walker utilizes “womanism” as a method of deconstructing and undermining the racist myths of black women and to inspire them to stand up to the oppressive exploitation. Walker has several more methods in incorporating subaltern individuals.

Walker begins from the perspective of one woman and applies it to the entire space, with both humanity and nature. This puts together feminists, males, and other communities while at the same time seeks to step away from idealism. A feminist will never commit to restoration of the set gender hierarchy of the cosmos. Walker targets the reasoning and ideology behind inhumane decisions. Considering Walker’s deconstructive perspective, one could well predict the blurring of fixed borders in her works. Abuse of black American women is typically connected to slavery with the background of white slave-owning men. Walker also depicted a rape of her father in one of her books, The Colour Purple.

Nonetheless, Walker’s book does not only reflect the derogatory facets of an oppressed black woman. In this scenario, she meant to reflect how a repressed rape survivor would have a larger effect not just on herself but also on others around her. The rape scene in the novel serves as a trigger which affects heroine and makes her decision in the book. The paper explores the role of rape in the novel The Color Purple in view of new revisionist theories of rape and explains how letter writing and women’s female bonding help Celie transcend her feelings of guilt and blame as a rape victim and build a political consciousness as a rape survivor.

1. Collective unconscious in God Help the Child

The term collective unconscious is a notion model introduced by Carl Jung1, a swiss psychoanalyst. It applies to the notion that a part of the deeper unconscious mind is biologically hereditary and is therefore not influenced by individual experiences, often linked to the concept of “objective psyche”2. The collective unconscious is inherent to all human beings as per Jung’s doctrines and is accountable for a variety of strong values and impulses, such as morality, sexual behaviour, and impulses of darkness and light. (Fritscher, “Understanding the Collective Unconscious”)

Despite 150 years since slavery’s abolishment in the United States, the aspects in which oppression nevertheless impacts the nation are incontrovertible. Just underneath the flesh is the agony of being African American. The latter still endure the persecution witnessed by their parents even though they have not been there per say, and this Carl Jung Explains as follows:

A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone. (125)

Not only is the complexity of oppression omnipresent nowadays, but there is still the depth, unwittingly indoctrinated by Black People. The influential and confident ideologies created in culture construct the female beings that act as a running document, a corporeal symbol of an American populace’s conflicting existence, constructed around the philosophy of distinction.

The blackness of Pecola makes her the antithesis of the perfect attractiveness in The Bluest Eye - “white is beautiful.” Morison, though, never offers any representation of Pecola gazing at herself in the reflection without losing her mind. The dreams of others act as a “mirror” that represents her depravity and reinforces it. People doubt her own life, causing her to have little confirmation of her individuality; whilst they merely urge her to try living outside of the fantasy, causing her desire and her life to fade. The effects of a divided physical and mental health are indicated by Pecola’s schizophrenia. Furthermore, these “physical stereotypes” have a tremendous impact on Black Community. Pecola’s parents’ perspectives offer a framework that portrays the situation of Pecola, as well as calling out a bigger cultural problem. This experience, lasting for half a century, resurfaces in God Help the Child, which holds mysterious reconstructions of where she stopped in the very first novel.

It presents a black little girl once more — Lula Ann, and her world is ruined by the bigotry of her own color. Her light-skinned parents have been disregarding her since she was an infant because of her dark complexion. Lula Ann leaves home as soon as she grows up, taking a new identity, Bride, and hiding her black identity by wrapping anything in white. Experts Wang and Wu conclude that by researching the influence of black complexion on family values and cultural lives, God Help the Child frames the problem of traumatic experiences (16). This research asserts that it is not just a vital tale of an adult’s existence that is impacted and poorly conditioned by traumatic experiences, instead of the disfigurement of a whole country.

1.1. Inherent trauma

The powerful influence of bias is the most significant aspect of the tale of Lula Ann. In a family relationship, they endured a lot of suffering, so “fault and blame” are productive and solid. As the narrative starts with “It’s not my fault, so you can’t blame me”, readers, detect that this is a narrative involving mental anguish which affects everybody. “Sweetness, the light-skinned mother of Lula Ann, still remembering the fear of giving birth to a black baby — It didn’t take longer than an hour after they took her out to know something went wrong between my thighs, very wrong (Morrison 3). Her parents, grandmother, and her husband are ”white“ in the household; nevertheless, this African American dark complexion appears on her daughter that adds embarrassment on the entire family. Sweetness found the ”midnight black“ skin of her daughter to be strikingly hideous - ”She (her daughter) was so black that she scared me. Midnight dark, black Sudanese [...]. I wish that she hadn’t been born in this hideous hue. I even dreamed about giving her away somewhere in an orphanage” (Morrison 5). What makes Sweetness believe that black is synonymous to ugliness is basically the prevalent white dominant doctrine that instills in the minds of individuals that whatever skin tone deviates from white is hideous, as Jung explains, “so far as we have any information about man, we know that he has always and everywhere been under the influence of dominating ideas.” (62)

Lula Ann is humiliated by Sweetness for her pitch-black eyes, which gave her embarrassment and, in addition, ended her life. Louis, the father of Lula Ann, declines to keep his baby, accuses the “unfaithfulness” of his wife and considers Lula Ann as an opponent. Presumably, both Sweetness and her husband, Louis, are light skinned, and they never could, for instance, convince themselves to support a person who stood against the perfect elegance. Before Sweetness insisted that the complexion may come from Louis’s heritage, not hers, the pair disagreed over their daughter’s physical appearance. It is incredibly shameful to be accused of possessing a Negro ancestor, the parent literally forsakes the family. “Her colour is a burden she’s still going to wear, declares Mother with a numbing lack of nuance, so it’s not my fault. This isn’t my fault. This isn’t my fault. It isn’t” (Morrison 5). Rather than something parental, the woman, nevertheless, demanded that her child name her “Sweetness”.

The adolescence of Lula Ann was saturated in deprivation and guilt, seeking attention, intimacy and approval. A girl and three boys piled up a couple of bananas on her seat some day and made impersonations of the monkeys. “They treated her like a ”freak, odd, soiling on white paper like a spill of ink” (Morrison 55). She is not whining, just “building resistance so strong that not being a ”nigger kid“ is all she needs to win” (Morrison, 25). Lula Ann leaves home as soon as she is able, switches her name to Bride, and by dressing something in white, gets a second skin to her pitch black color. And here it is definitely the manifestation of Lula’s unconscious as Jung puts it:

“The unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it ― we become unconscious of ourselves. That is the age-old danger, instinctively known and feared by primitive man, who himself stands so very close to this pleroma. His consciousness is still uncertain, wobbling on its feet. It is still childish, having just emerged from the primal waters. A wave of the unconscious may easily roll over it, and then he forgets who he was and does things that are strange to him” (21-22)

It seems that the character of Bride has already taken over Lula that is bygone in the depth of her unconscious urging her to do unusual things like dressing in white to overshadow the blackness of her denigrated skin.

Nonetheless; Surprisingly enough, Bride learns that men find her highly sexy, and her blackness is “the new black,” reminding us of the “Black is Beautiful”3 campaign in the 1960s.

Nowadays, maybe not everyone might think there seemed to be a link between one’s looks and political struggle to stop the policies of racial segregation. Back then that was real. Morrison explains how ”white fantasy“ produces a ”functionalization of an Africanist identity“ and notes that ”not only the non-free but also the depiction of the not me could’ve been found in that reconstruction of black identity and subjugation with the dramatic polarity created by skin color“ (92). What Morrison is trying to highlight is that racial subjectivity’s white construct generates recurrent mental anguish for African Americans, and the risk of ignoring one’s personality as a justification for promoting racist solidarity, ”When a race’s power depends on its appearance, when the emphasis is on how one appears as compared to what one is, there is a crisis,“ since ”the notion of external unity (Morrison 74). Evidently, Morrison is explicit on the emptiness of the “new black” of Bride, which is still created and characterized by a broader society that is racially exclusive. One error that had disastrous implications was that Bride was a person of interest to an infamous sex abuse as a second-grader, culminating in the lengthy incarceration of Sofia Huxley, an unfortunate twenty-year-old young teacher. Whatever encourages her to blame an innocent civilian is to get the love of her parents to make her mother appreciate her.

All the mothers smiled at me outside the courtroom, and two actually touched and hugged me.“ Fathers have sent me thumbs-ups. Sweetness was most of all. She squeezed my side as we went down the courthouse stairs. She had never done that before, and I was as shocked as it delighted me, because ”I always knew she didn’t like to touch me.“ I might assume that (Morrison, 123).

Sweetness allowed the Bride’s earlobes to perforate following the hearing and gave her earrings as a present. As an adult, by giving five thousand dollars to Sofia, who lived in prison for fifteen years and now on probation, Bride is worried and seeks out to make restitution. However, by providing Bride a good beat and throwing her out instead of taking the money, Sofia ends the compensation. After that, Bride noticed that her ear holes were abruptly plugged, and one after another, strange stuff occurred on her body - her cycle ends, and then her breasts shorten. Everything inside her body is shifting.

As a woman, Bride experiences a detrimental shift in the body - hairless nether regions, irregular menstrual cycle, flat stomach, and diminishing body. The suppressed traumatic abuse reflects on her body, thereby also demonstrating that the body is a repository for memories and mental anguish, and she sheds her natural identity and turns back into a black little girl. As Jung claims,

‘In view of the intimate connection that exists between certain psychic processes and their physical parallels we cannot very well accept the total immateriality of the psyche… Spirit and matter may well be forms of one and the same transcendental being.’ That is to say, the trauma engendered by her parents’ denigration and repulsion of her dark skin color had a heavy impact on her unconscious that was inevitably transmitted onto her body and hence the drastic changes she witnesses. Thus here, her unconscious is pushing her back to her remotest version of the self: that of a little black skinned girl instead of a grown up woman.

1.2. Construction of layers of trauma

A study conducted by Van der Kolk reveals that, ”such experiences appear to become frozen in the subconscious and stay untouched by the passing of time” (20). Over years and decades, painful experiences have been re-experienced, apparently without alteration. As an adult, the brain of Bride turning back into the dark skinned little girl alerts the audience of the expression of William Faulkner, “The background is almost never unconscious.” Her traumatic pain is always present, right beneath her skin. It’s not really past (Faulkner 51). As a result, Booker, her lover, embraces the physical shift, when he suddenly abandons her, leading her to be heartbroken. She continues her quest in pursuit of Booker. Bride is recovering from a car crash in Northern California mining territory, far away from town, and is saved and adopted by a white couple. Bride gets similar to a toddler in her care called Storm, who finds Bride after the car crash, after six weeks of rehab at home. In Bride, Rain discovers the only individual with whom she can speak about the mistreatment by her sex worker mother. Bride meets a companion in Rain who is still in her youth vacancies. In the basic way of girls, all of them recognize one another.

Van der Kolk notes that, “emotionally scarred persons must have situations that supercede the cognitive despondency as well as physiological exhaustion that characterize psychological problems” in reversing the physiological impact of traumatic experiences (20). The connection between the two, one “absolute darkness,” the other “caucasian”; the emotional age of an individual equivalent to that of an infant is the very core of this strong tale. Morrison uses psychodynamic “persistence distinction,” with her protagonists eventually referring to and trying to transform an earlier period of distress. This phase is consciousness, empowering and therapeutic for Bride. In addition, Morrison aims to note that Jim Crow Reforms instituted to completely separate people of different races, stratified accommodation as well as educational institutions, prejudice in the administration of justice, misconceptions about interracial sex, and social and political repression have a detrimental impact on Blacks. As per Eyerman, such omission triggers sensational disillusionment (21).

While “influencing a variety of employees that achieved certain measure of solidarity as the mutual recollection of slavery. The infant comes to discover himself through a gradual comparison of his own body with the bodies of other people, creating his own characteristics (Clark and Clark). The apartheid induced children to be mindful that race awareness is part of a special category and the growth of self-consciousness is influenced by physical appearance. As a consequence, segregation has harmed human personality and still judges a citizen wrongly.

2. Rape Archetypes in The Color Purple

Jung had pointed out the recurrence of imagery, characters, and events in myths, religions, and cultural beliefs. These tales shared the same elements and the same protagonists, even though they were distinct from each other. Jung describes archetypes as ‘architectural patterns’ claiming, ‘there is good reason for supposing that the archetypes are the unconscious images of the instincts themselves, in other words, that they are patterns of instinctual behaviour.’ (44) He called these coincidences synchronistic4. We cannot retrieve all aspects of human history from the collective unconscious. We get a collection of typical trends or categories. Our imagination utilizes archetypes and generates sense from the universe.

The differences we see in each culture is because it is unique due to the context of space and time. The core principles are similar to all societies, so we cannot assume they are different from each other.

According to Jung, these trends happen all over the human body and universe. He names them ”noumena“ (conventions). In the 18th century, Immanuel Kant distinguished between noumena and phenomena. This German philosopher claims that phenomena are the perception of a thing by the person, and noumena are the real thing. (APA Dictionary of Psychology)

For example, when we see a pencil, we assume we know a lot about that object. The imagined picture does not have concrete forms; it is only a concept. There is no means of telling if what is being talked of is actually like the intended outcome. Is it actually the same or do we only believe so? According to Kant, metaphysics has little use because we cannot have access to objects as they actually are. There is no way to break rid of the head. This is because we are not positive about the truth.

Jung had another notion which was contrary to that of Freud. He assumes the mind and the universe are linked to the common unconscious. Moving to the truth is achievable through the mutual unconscious, which binds all the human race. Jung discovered coincidences that cannot be described, even if they were not entirely spontaneous. This must be occurring by accident or for whatever reason. It will be a message sent from the cosmos to direct us. In Jung’s philosophy, these synchronicities demonstrate that the common unconscious binds individuals through psychic force.

Another link between Freud and Jung’s theories is that they examined people in contrast to other beings. For Freud father and son instill thinking and actions. For Jung, the phase of individuation starts with an unconscious association with the component, ‘The fact is that archetypal images are so packed with meaning in themselves that people never think of asking what they really do mean’ (12-13). The object is similarly meaningless in itself; the object merely plays a role in the greater social truth.

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, like Morrison’s books, conjures up this archetypal sexual assault storyline, but Walker is more involved in re-envisioning this myth in an alternate vocabulary approach where she attempts to, ”establish herself uniquely, reengage her identity from the traditional frameworks of human sexuality that produce her as feminine subject“ define herself rationally, detach oneself from the gender fluidity traditional narratives that establish her as a feminist person (1107). Abbandonato believes that definitive male texts are rewritten in The Color Purple, however she does not mention Walker’s reworking of Philomela5’s narrative. For starters, in Ovid’s account, Philomela is sexually assaulted by her brother-in-law, Tereus, who proceeds to cut her tongue away. Eventually, Philomela is turned into a wanderer, cursed for forever to hiss out her abuser’s identity: tereu, tereu. Consequently, Philomela’s mythical story specifically juxtaposes rape, silence, and the dissolution of female rationality, which are all found in Walker’s The Color Purple. Likewise, while critics debated the transformation of personal and social dialects by Celie, none of these analysts investigated the reorganization of lexical items of Philomela’s narrative by Walker. Walker’s text provides Philomela a speech that effectively avoids the brutal oppressive deposition of the male will on a mute female body, unlike the initial mysterious script.

Nevertheless, Walker does more than only encourage Philomela to talk within the boundaries of the language of hegemony. The novel by Walker revises Philomela’s myth by constructing a protagonist’s report that defragments the intended recipient’s rhetorical situation and encapsulates Celie’s transition away from a life as a survivor of a masculine conspiracy into a rhetorical and narratological character as the author/subject in her own tale. The novel by Walker often redesigns the narrative by constructing an alternate vocabulary that encourages both male and female subjectivity to be expressed-a molded discourse that pulls back from the brutality of patriarchal dominance, from patriarchal discourse. Celie’s talents as a seamstress simultaneously recover and readjust the concept of Philomela, for with the exception of Philomela’s tapestry/text, Celie’s stitching serves as an alternate technique of expression that takes her away from abuse and victimhood and towards consciousness and subjective experience. The book often purposely mixes the pen and the needle, thus embodying the simplistic contrasts between the man and the female, the articulated and the unheard, the lexical and the visual. The reconstruction of the mythology of Philomela by Walker thus overthrows the master rhetoric of patriarchal culture and the dominant version of history. Philomela’s expression in Walker’s hands is the tool for the individual’s transformative process and even a radical reinterpretation of the power systems that underlie both the dominant vocabulary and the patriarchal environment itself.

Susan Griffin claims that, ”more than rape itself, the fear of rape permeates our lives .... and the best defense against this is not to be, to deny being in the body, as a self; . . . to avert your gaze, make yourself, as a presence in this world, less felt“ (83). Definitely, the reaction mentioned by Griffin is evident as Celie talks of making herself into wood when she is battered or raped (”I say to myself, Celie, you a tree‘ [30]); to escape harm, Celie rejects her body and her existence. The tale of Walker continues in the familiar mythical way: Celie is instructed by her (presumed) father during her rape, ”You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy“ (Walker 11). Celie is silenced by an independent factor, and she faces the forfeiture of intentionality and personal speech associated with sexual assault by the theory of Philomela, like Morrison’s characters, ”I am fourteen years old. I am I have always been a good girl“ (11). Not a ”good girl,“ any more, Celie has no nominative subjective nature.

Celie seems to have been forced into conceptual failure by the rape, like Pecola Breedlove of Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, who concludes the narrative ”flail[ing] her arms like a bird in an eternal, grotesquely futile effort to fly“ (158). The script of Walker often utilizes animal as well as bleeding symbolism to reconnect Celie to her iconic version, Philomela, as well as to revise the legendary prototext. Ovid explains how Procne and Philomela are reborn in Persona6, a move that silences them as humans but does not remove their gruesome deeds, ”One flew to the woods, the other to the roof-top, / And even so the red marks of the murder/Stayed on their breasts; the feathers were blood-colored“ (151). In The Colour Purple, both birds and blood are connected with Celie. Celie informs Albert that she likes birds, and Albert replies, ”you use to remind me of a bird. Way back when you first come to live with me. . . . And the least little thing happen, you looked about to fly away“. When Celie returns to confront her ”Pa“ (Alphonso) about her behavior later in the book, she talks 2 - 3 times about how beautifully the birds just sang outside her home. The musical birds of the later scene recall the prior victimization of Celie, the way she was raped, bloodied, impregnated, and robbed of speech by the assertion of Alphonso that ”she tell lies“ (Walker 18,164, 165, 167, 223).

Paradoxically, amid the destroying habits of mankind, the birds of this scene are still a hopeful sign for Celie of how nature succeeds in exhibiting its elegance. Similarly, Walker later turns the blood meaning of the earlier rape scene into something a little more optimistic, modifying the imagery of blood in the mythical book. Similarly, Walker later transforms the blood symbolism of the early rape scene into something more constructive, ”Celie defines her heart as “blooming blood” when Shug betrays Celie (229). Here, it is often generative, while blood is painful: it glows. During her abuse, blood came from Celie. In other main incidents in the book, including her first encounter with Mr.’s (Albert’s) kin, it Celie declares, “I spend my wedding day running from the oldest boy. . . . He pick up a rock and laid my head open. The blood run all down tween my breasts” (21). Celie’s breasts are painted with gore, including Philomela, whose breast feathers are stained “blood-colored” with the “red marks of the murder” after she had been converted into a pigeon (Ovid 151). Sooner or later, though, Celie converts the blood from this assault into sprouting color, into an imaginative and proliferative crimson. The color red is seen as a positive factor in her weaving by a more adult Celie, changing it from a shade of suffering to a shade of pleasure. She knits purple and white clothes for Sofia, red and orange trousers for Squeak, and red and blue trousers for Shug. She colors purple and red inside her own room (Walker 191, 194, 248). The blood that stains Celie then becomes an optimistic sign of her creative ingenuity, instead of a derogatory symbol (as in the folklore) of how her act is cursed forever. Walker’s book utilizes bird and blood images, unlike the stereotypical story, to signify Celie’s transformation process not from person to inhuman, but from survivor to artist-heroine. The book also varies from the mythical prototext, and also Morrison works, in that it starts (but instead comes to an end) with the sexual abuse of Celie, and in that the rape does not become a tool of suppression, but a trigger for Celie’s speech quest. She finds comfort in the specifics of her diary, framed at first as letters to God, after Celie is instructed to be quiet regarding the abuse. Celie starts to establish a resistant deconstructive interpretation of history in these letters that eventually retains her subjectivity and expression:

He never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn’t. First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold of my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it. But I don’t never git used to it. (Walker11)

Through addressing her own and other people’s unpleasant circumstances, Celie makes the incidents mightier. This commentary suggests that rape may be frustrating for women owing to past background history of an authority figure. (277). Her comment “I don’t never git used to it” reveals that she understands that her Pa’s acts are wrong and immoral and that she cannot cope with his commandments. Through writing about her abuse, Celie further shares her experiences in a way to keep those atrocities from killing her. Celie feels terrible for her mother because “Trying to believe his [the father’s] story kilt her” (Walker 15). To become assimilated into a patriarchal text will contribute to the complete annihilation of feminine existence. For Celie to defy the authority through her own writing implies that she is willing to hold herself safe.

The need to cope with sexual attacks by men is brought up in passing by Celie in the novel but it is not spoken about by Shugley. The author Ellen Rooney argues that scenes of sexual abuse appear to be privileged places for exploring the construction of female subjectivity since they provide for issues of sexual desire, identity, and agency in an especially convincing way (92). This proves that Pa wants to ignore Celie’s subjectivity by erasing her body with other women and her name. To Walker rape is a complex occurrence rather than a moment of helplessness of women. Walker’s depiction of rape in her text contributes not only to erasure but also to her desire to gain power of her own body.

Celine escapes secrecy even being raped regularly by her in-laws. Multiple or repetitive abuse is one of the features of abuses in the archetypal myth of Philomela as well as of texts of contemporary African-American people. In this novel, even then, Tereus had sex with Philomela several times (Ovid 147). In Women of Brewster Place, Lorraine who has been brutally raped becomes silent by a dirty paper bag being put in her mouth (170). In The Bluest Eye, Pecola claims that her boyfriend, Cholly, raped her twice, but her mother does not believe her (Morrison 155,156). Celie, much like Cressida, is repeatedly tortured and assaulted by her “Pa”. Celie is often abused by her spouse, both literally and symbolically. Though Celie reflects more on her relationship with her husband and less on her relationship with her father, she nevertheless states similarities between her husband and her father. Throughout the entire novel, Celie’s letters constantly stress that intercourse with Albert is rape. Walker’s father and husband are conflated. Both are abusers that cannot bear the idea that women should have a separate life away from sexual violence. In Ovid’s telling of the story, when Tereus sees Philomela embracing her father, Tereus thinks that “He would like to be/Her father, at that moment; and if he were/He would be as wicked a father as he is a husband” (144-45). In comparison, in the myth of Philomela, both women’s sororal position would not deter the father from having to have sexual intercourse with both sisters. Pa murders Celie and then renders it with Nettie. These similarities with classical Greek myth of Philomela, Celie’s resistance is impressive.

Via Celie’s reconfiguration of the rhetorical triangle of sender-receiver-message, her stiff speech is discharged and reformulated. Celie’s support for rape victims is severely affected by rape. While Albert is ineffective in raping Nettie, he manages to “raping” both Nettie and Celie by withholding letters intended for the other one. And yes, there are lessons from Celie’s ordeal that can be learnt. When Celie discovers that Albert has lost Nettie’s letters, her mind goes void, and she feels ill and exhausted. Celie’s erotic reaction to Shug is often withered under Albert’s abstract sexual coercion. Celie was on the brink of going crazy when she learned that Albert had hidden the letters. (Walker 134, 136)

For instance, in a text in which“ [c] riss-crossed letters, letters written to an absence, letters received from the dead, hidden and confiscated letters, all of these point to the instability of language”. maybe it is no wonder that Albert’s simplistic action of locking up Nettie’s voice in his trunk does not necessarily interrupt the “conversation” between Celie and Nettie. While Celie believes Nettie is dead, she always speaks to her in a way that she imagines Nettie is still alive. While the initial tale appears to conclude without an answer, in a more optimistic interpretation of the story, the solution is generated by using letters. The sender of the message assumes that the recipient of the message would eventually pursue action based on the details. Celie disputes what has transpired as well as Albert’s reaction to her. (Walker 229-30)

By highlighting the power of stitching within her work, Walker welcomes a second look at social reform. When rape has been condemned and renounced as a method of patriarchal dominance, once men have been converted and included in a modern societal order where he can behave as a “woman” and speak in “womanly” languages, culture can then shift toward a more equal partnership between the sexes. There is still no reason to weaken one’s femininity, reject one’s femininity or render one’s masculinity throughout the rape free communities (94). Rape-free communities allow sexual freedom and complementarity between the genders. This is a significant part of Walker’s feminist work, in which she seeks to affirm the “feminine” which prompts this circumstance (67). Several theorists, including Keith Byerman and bell hooks, claim that the focus in feminization of the men inside The Walker Project may be interpreted as a form of failure of feminism. Sanday’s study contends that Walkers’ strategy is rational. In Wendy Walker’s literary text, the “feminine” is not confused with either female or man. Women are a peaceful, more realistic approach to reform culture.

In this book, the female protagonists reveal new methods of bringing a change of systems of expression. Celie’s letters to Miss Universe allow her to reconfigure the rhetorical circumstance when she becomes the author/subject of her own story. The novel often employs a feminine methodology of language that eliminates the oppressive and phallic model of language of the pen, which breaks and rends. This rhetoric, though engaging the vocabulary of worn rather than ripped, destroys gender norms itself. The two discourses (the debate of the pen and of the needle) are fused together through this conflation and conflict, which turn out to be Walker’s main accomplishment. Through the usage of the pen, men have power over people, but with the use of needles, women have control over men.

Walker successfully disrupts the oppressive conventions of language by blurring the divide between terms and objects. If the pen has been the needle and the needle the pen, if the words woman and man have been reconciled, if civilization has come to accept both masculine and feminine subject roles then what confidence exists in a subjugation of other “minorities”. Overall, this book leads to an examination of the fluidity of heterosexist sexual boundaries and discrimination.


This paper sought to explain the concept of collective unconscious as it relates to the perception of African Americans of themselves and delineate the construction of rape archetypes in the society. God Help the Child reconciles sexism and race in addition to articulating the material effect they have on culture. As professor John Booker says “scientifically there’s no such thing as race,” he quickly adds, “racism without race is a choice” (143). It justifies bigotry. In this scenario, Bride comments on “his words … did not reflect reality” (Morrison 143). This text signals the viewers to make great improvements in their way of life. Morrison’s book instead of attempting to “pity” those self-destructive individuals like Sweetness, allows viewers to think of children’s future and say that, whether there is any, we really cannot survive in a post-patriarchal or post-racial world. Through having the primary focus on Bride’s outward image, Morrison indicates that there is a problem of colorism within black cultures and the impact of the media on African American women. This paper stresses the significance of Black people opposing post-racial discourses in order to challenge the state’s oppression of Black women’s bodies. The fact that Bride herself led a sheltered life before she had her stroke further demonstrates the difference between the truth and the comforting illusion of a post-racial and post-feminist world. Morrison will kill when she redefines norms of feminine appearance. This is an intriguing occurrence that encourages greater exploration of Laura Albert’s Black female bodies that are in the United States. With God Help the Child, Morrison especially urged readers to break the silence on claims about how we still live in a post-racial, post-Black, post-feminist world by noting how bigotry, abuse, and misogyny remain major factors in the lives of women. Notably, Walker’s book best captures and illustrates the heart of the organization’s vision. This syncretic womanism demonstrates the various forms in which Black people utilize feminism as a tool to achieve a sense of self and meaning. Celie reflects the idea of a sexually egalitarian world without a gender-based hierarchy in which “silencing the feminine” is not required for “becoming confident and autonomous.” In The Color Purple, the critic praises the heroine, Celie, who exemplifies courage, overcoming hostility between individuals, particularly women. Smith’s employment of the word female hero is important for it reveals a feminine quality of Walker’s individuality which is central to the sense of womanism. This indicates that while Philomela’s tale led to the downfall of both her abuser and herself, The Color Purple showed a potential alternate narrative where the key characters transformed. When Celie gets to realize the purple symbolizes nature’s greatness, she truly embraces the hue to be a good side of nature. Celie is in touch with nature, with the universe, with the whole world. Here, it is safe to propose a “womanist” reading of Walker’s masterpiece, so as to incorporate and encourage a theoretical structure which can connect various subaltern groups all over the world.

1 Carl Jung, in full Carl Gustav Jung, (born July 26, 1875, Kesswil, Switzerland—died June 6, 1961, Küsnacht), Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who

2 In analytical psychology, another name for the collective unconscious, so called because it is not personal and therefore not subjective. Carl

3 Black is Beautiful is a cultural movement that was started in the United States in the1960s by African Americans. ... It aims to dispel the racist

4 Synchronicity (German: Synchronizität) is a concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are "meaningful

5 In Greek mythology, Philomela was the daughter of Pandion, a legendary king of Athens. Her sister Procne married Tereus, king of Thrace, and went to

Unable to speak, Philomela wove a tapestry depicting the story and arranged for an old woman to take it to Procne. When Procne saw the weaving, she


Persona, in psychology, the personality that an individual projects to others, as differentiated from the authentic self. The term, coined by Swiss

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1 Carl Jung, in full Carl Gustav Jung, (born July 26, 1875, Kesswil, Switzerland—died June 6, 1961, Küsnacht), Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytic psychology, in some aspects a response to Sigmund Freud’spsychoanalysis. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality,archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion,literature, and related fields.

2 In analytical psychology, another name for the collective unconscious, so called because it is not personal and therefore not subjective. Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) introduced this term (Collected Works, 7, paragraph 103n).

3 Black is Beautiful is a cultural movement that was started in the United States in the1960s by African Americans. ... It aims to dispel the racist notion that black people's natural features such as skin color, facial features and hair are inherently ugly.

4 Synchronicity (German: Synchronizität) is a concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are "meaningful coincidences" if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.

5 In Greek mythology, Philomela was the daughter of Pandion, a legendary king of Athens. Her sister Procne married Tereus, king of Thrace, and went to live with him in Thrace. After five years, Procne wanted to see her sister. Tereus agreed to go to Athens and bring Philomela back for a visit. However, Tereus found Philomela so beautiful that he raped her. Then he cut out her tongue so she could not tell what had happened and hid her. He told Procne that her sister was dead.

Unable to speak, Philomela wove a tapestry depicting the story and arranged for an old woman to take it to Procne. When Procne saw the weaving, she asked the woman to lead her to Philomela. After rescuing her sister, Procne planned revenge on her husband. She killed their son Itys and served him to Tereus for supper. At the end of the meal, Philomela appeared and threw the boy's head on the table. Realizing what had happened, Tereus chased the women and tried to kill them. But before he could catch them, the gods transformed them all into birds. Tereus became a hawk (or a hoopoe), while Procne became a nightingale and Philomela a swallow. Roman writers reversed these roles, making Philomela a nightingale and Procne a swallow. The myth appears in Ovid'sMetamorphoses*.


Persona, in psychology, the personality that an individual projects to others, as differentiated from the authentic self. The term, coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, is derived from the Latin persona, referring to the masks worn by Etruscan mimes.

Lilia Zenadji

University of Algiers 2

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