Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research

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The Deep Semantics of Imagery in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

CJ Ezekulie, EI Obi


The construction of meaning in a literary work is coterminous with the interpretation of the metaphors of the text, metaphor being an  encompassing term for any shift from literal to literary language. However, as the science of semantics does not account for metaphor, Ricoeur’s theory of textuality propounds a different mode of analysis for literary text tagged ‘Deep Semantics’ which advocates a bipartite function of interpretation and explanation in the science of hermeneutics. Hinged on this theoretical framework, the paper assesses the deep semantics of imagery in Walker’s The Color Purple and highlights the salient  non-ostensive references of the text and the new world it proposes. The analysis reveals the key to a deeper and broader perception of God, the imperativeness of equality of sexes and economic empowerment of women as veritable tools for the liberation and restoration of the dignity of black women, the horror of racism, and the despicable nature of sexual abuse, child abuse and wife battering. The convergence of the imagery gives the sense of the text as a whole.

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