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Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Eom In-hee’s <That Woman’s Novel> from the Perspective of ‘Womanism’

Hee-Won Lee 1

1서울과학기술대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the thematic similarities between Alice Walker's concept of 'womanism,' as described in In Search of Mothers' Gardens and illustrated in her novel The Color Purple, and the portrayal of 'womanism' in Eom In-hee's play <That Woman's Novel>. Walker's 'womanism' critiques mainstream Western feminism for excluding black women and other marginalized groups, advocating for a more inclusive approach that surpasses racial, class, national, gender, and sexual orientation boundaries, while emphasizing strong female connections. Although it is unclear if Eom In-hee was directly influenced by Walker's work, a comparative analysis reveals a shared thematic core in The Color Purple and <That Woman's Novel>. Despite differences in genre, cultural context, and historical setting, both works emphasize the formation of deep, supportive bonds among women, extending these connections to include men, which is an essential aspect of 'womanism.' This paper juxtaposes the sexual and spiritual bond between Celie and Shug in The Color Purple with the relationship between the older and younger wives in <That Woman's Novel>, exploring their transformation from internalized patriarchal sexism to embracing a womanist perspective, and the subsequent change in their respective husbands. In doing so, it positions Eom In-hee not only as a playwright who offers a feminist perspective on tradition but also as a playwright aligned with global contemporary trends like 'womanism,' thereby suggesting new avenues for evaluating her contributions.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.