Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 3 | Words: 715
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

In the novel “Possessing the Secret of Joy”, Alice Walker demonstrates her evolving originality in writing the narrative story. The novel includes various monologues, a few letters with the description of the main events, and the main character’s reaction to them.

In the novel, the author provides a discussion of the topic of females’ mutilation. Walker’s chief aim was to show the rituals which were held in Africa in the Olinka tribe. These rituals had dangerous and awful effects on women and little girls. Before writing the novel, the author has explored special aspects of the ritual, its origin, and history.

Tashi Evelyn Johnson is the main character of the novel. Walker begins the book with the monologue, where Tashi tells that she has just realized that she is dead. Consequent monologues disclose what leads the main character to the following judgment in her life. The protagonist is born in Africa and stays during her young age in the Olinka tribe. After some time, she moves to America. Here, she spends most of her mature life. However, when Tashi reaches her middle-age, she comes back to Africa. In her motherland, she was going to kill M’Lissa, who acted upon a feminine peritomy on her. The woman experienced the great amount of cultural shock. Then, the protagonist marries Adam Johnson. He loves her very much. The husband tries always to support her in complicated periods of her life, but he is really unable to help her. The other characters of the novel are: Benny Johnson (Adam’s and Tashi’s son), Lisette (Adam’s another son), Dura (Tashi’s sister who died), Carl Jung (Tashi’s therapist).

The central theme of the novel is to show effects and causes of the circumcision practice. From this point of view, the book is enormously horrifying. Alice Walker shows how and why the cultural practice is permitted to go on, and why mothers allow their daughters to suffer the same way they did in the past. Mostly, the circumcision process develops and takes further place in the African tribes’ life because of males’ actions. They really insist on it. Their behavior shows a reader the physical circumstances of FGM. Furthermore, the author describes hazards and risks of disfigurement itself in addition to the everlasting harm that it causes still while “doing well”. It describes the way women feel after this process. In all cases, females feel numb and locked up from inside. It is just the single way to stay alive, and it makes me scared.

This woman’s story is actually painful and heartbreaking. As the protagonist was not mutilated in the early childhood, the tribe’s tsunga decided to do this in the adult years. As the lead character could remember all the pain and awful feelings, she was hurt for all her future life. Furthermore, Tashi had a negative experience with her older sister who had died because of that cultural process. The protagonist was followed by the old recollections all her life. She was injured physically and mentally. The further period of her “existence” is a thrash about to make up mind to or to recognize what she has done. Finally, the protagonist wins but, certainly, that does not represent that she can live in high spirits. She will be never able to.

Tashi does in reality turn out to be mad. She observes psychiatrists everywhere and confuses these people amid her African differentness. During all her life, she remembers all the events which have happened with her before. She recollects her sister’s death, her bleeding, screams, her mother’s gait, and people in her tribe. After this, the lead character decides that she is incapable to struggle with the traditions proposed her in the early childhood. Tashi makes a decision to do something rather representative and brutal to express her fury and heartache. To my mind, no one will judge this woman. She was unhappy all her life, and the pain made her do such a thoughtless actions. The readers are signed up as observers in a battle against the biggest unfairness, which passes by from one generation to another, even today.

The book gives us the opportunity to think over the problem in spite of it awfulness. We live in the 21st century, but people are still stuck to indiscreet and ancient rituals which spoil their life.

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