Transcending the Inauspicious Curse? Black Violence and the Victim-focused Identity in Alice Walker’s Works
Edwin Mhandu

The paper explores the presentation of violence in Alice Walker’s works ranging from domestic violence, public fighting and murder in general. I argue that the black men’s family is portrayed as an arena for violent manifestations. Being the architect of such violent manifestations, the Blackman strike readers as an individual who is always being assailed by an ill-defined curse, a black American curse and as “feeble minded” as he is projected to be, he fails to transcend that inauspicious curse. He thus becomes the worst enemy of the black family, always playing the blame the victim trump card; beating his wife and women in general, castigating and cajoling the very premise upon which strong filial bonds can be predicated upon. Thus, in the process he puts the black woman in a double bind where she has to grapple with a wider and vicious system and where she also has to tame the “rabid” and “unthinking brute” for a husband or for a father. Plausible as Walker’s projections may look to be, l argue that what Walker does is to merely churn out stereotypes and given the fact that stereotypes are used to categorise black people and they act as a control mechanism against possible retaliation of the atrocities committed over centuries such a presentation is fraught with problems. These stereotypes are made to “make visible the invisible...and to make fast, firm and separate what is fluid and the norm...than the dominant (bourgeoisie middle class) value system cares to admit.(Dyer, 1993, p16) Such a projection makes violence a unique black crime that can only be resolved in the African American community by taming the black man, however, l argue that such a projection defies logic and cannot go unchallenged.

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