Fighting Conformity In Alice Walker's Meridian

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Stephanie Martinez Sandra Basdra GE Cluster 64, Discussion 1G November 18, 2014 Fighting Conformity In Meridian by Alice Walker, the titular protagonist struggles with the pre-determined identity placed upon her as an African American woman in the 1960’s. As Meridian is confronted by questions surrounding her ideas on motherhood, race, and sexual identity, she comes to the realization that she does not fit into society’s definition of any of those things; this sets the stage for Meridian’s constant struggle with self-identity. Through the use of diction and imagery in the narration of events in Meridian’s life, Walker presents to the reader a character that wages an intrinsic war between who she is and who she is expected to be. Meridian finds…show more content…
It is not until she realizes that she needs to accept herself, contradictions and all, that she is able to beat her mysterious illness and take her place back in The Civil Rights Movement. She finds the strength and resolve she needs within herself, which is all she ever wanted. Meridian no longer feels shame nor guilt in whom she is; she is eager for the world and ready to make the difference she believes she can make. This newfound resolve stems from the acceptance she now has of herself. She is now aware that she is not a woman who can be categorized by the conformist nature of America in the 60’s. In her process of self-acceptance Meridian has permanently marked the lives of her former lover Truman and former friend Anne-Marion, both of which were pivotal figures in Meridian’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. When Meridian accepts her self and her role in the world she leaves Truman and Anne-Marion to bear the metaphorical cross of her struggle, “[Truman] wondered if Meridian knew that the sentence of bearing the conflict in her own soul… must now be borne in terror by all the rest of them.”

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