Let us examine in brief some of the grieved outcries of the first and third groups of readers.For these readers, their anger and hostility toward Alice Walker rests largely on her third and most polemical novel, The Color Purple (1982), and its film adaptation by Hollywood filmmaking guru, Steven Spielberg (1985), a work they claim distorts black history, demeans black men, and leaves in its "savage" wake a most deleterious impression of blacks.
Few twentieth-century American writers have left their imprint on several generations of readers as Alice Walker has.
From the time she emerged on the literary scene in 1968 with the publication of her first volume of poetry, Once, to the present, Walker appears to have been imbued with an insistent, almost dour and sacrificial determination to tell the truth, a truth that has insistently and consistently evoked contradictory feelings in her readers.
From the irate Black Muslim brothers led by Louis Farrakhan's former national spokesperson, Dr.
Khallid Muhammed, who filed past Walker at a 1987 Founders' Day ceremony at Spelman College, to the NAACP-supported protesters in Los Angeles picketing The Color Purple film's premiere, Walker appeared headed for calumny, even demonization of the worst kind.
In the summer of 1952, at the age of eight, while playing "Indians and Cowboys" with her five brothers and two sisters (Walker was an Indian with a bow and arrow in her hands), her elder brother Bill, accidentally blinded her in her right eye when she shot his BB gun.
Walker became very self-conscious of the large white scar tissue that the accident left behind.
When trying to analyze why the content of the novel, The Color Purple, and the way it is, we perceive that there are certain things that influenced the events or things that influenced the writer to write a novel of its nature.
We must understand these events and situations that were of the great influence.
To some readers, a growing circle of detractors and die-hard traditionalists, many of them black cultural nationalists and Black Muslim brotherhood, her writing is nothing but a witch's brew, ever troublesome and woeful, threatening the essential foundation of traditional lore.
For these readers, Walker remains, at bottom, a writer set apart from the cloddish world by her heightened capacity for feeling a cloddish world, that is, all too willing to employ flatulent rhetoric, to utter imprecations and frenzied diatribes under its smouldering breath.