Hosseini and Walker meticulously explore the concept of patriarchal oppression as they both attempt to illustrate the power of male dominance over their protagonists. A dimension concerning economic oppression is explained by Patricia Collins as the denial of vote, yet in Walker’s novel, it is presence of male patriarchal subjugation as Celie is impregnated and unable to receive education. Walker clearly criticises the restrictive dictates of rural society and class, illustrating this principally through the relationship of Celie and Alphonso, the “remorseless child molester” **shmoop. Whilst Alphonso tends to categorize into the same sub-division of class as Celie, the mere fact he is a man seems to justify his callous acts, whilst he tells Celie “you better shut up and git used to it” during her torturous rape. Walker ultimately gives Alphonso the epithet of an emblematic “rapist” of his time, as she illustrates his undeniable lack of remorse towards Celie, after which she later admits “But I don’t never git used to it”. The epistolary style format whereby Celie predominantly writes “Dear God” allows readers into her lugubrious emotions but perhaps in a more intimate format as it is intended to be received by God who appears to be “white –skinned. Despite the sexual violence described in Celie’s letters, there is nothing excessively melodramatic about the letters in terms of style. The fronted conjunction “but” paired with the personal pronoun “I” clearly depicts her disorientation and naivety towards Alphonso who “pushes his thing inside” her. Yet, the simplistic, high- frequency lexis used by Walker such as Celie’s reference to “thing” opens up different interpretations. On the one hand, Celie’s substandard English such as the omission of “ever” being replaced with the double negative “don’t ever” and the elliptical utterance “git” may suggest her genuine inability to express her vehemence. However, an alternative interpretation proposed by Christopher S. Lewis proposes that Celie’s writing actually signifies her refusal to be silenced, stating, “While Alphonso intends to silence Celie, she counteracts this with her letters to God.” Therefore, it can be said that Celie’s utilisation of language may be an attempt of breaking away from the “underclass” that is imposed upon by racism and the somewhat imperial position of the English language. Thus, Celie’s gradual linguistic progress may actually be the reason for raising herself in a more powerful position, and her rape instead becomes not an instrument of silencing, but the catalyst to Celie’s search for voice. Similarly, Jane’s story in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is expressed in the format of her secret diary, as she transcribes her arguably devious thoughts and obsessions whilst the wallpaper ‘grows’, claiming, “it knocks you down and tramples upon you” where the ‘bars’ are simultaneously locking up the trapped woman and keeping her prisoner. Gilman’s use of metaphorical imagery, for instance the ‘bars’ may serve as a symbol for Jane’s persistent mental and physical entrapment, whilst connoting Jane’s direct alliance with the woman in the wallpaper, who is captured behind the “bars”. The “knocking down” and “trampling” may equally reflect patriarchal society’s restricting conventions in which Jane must accept the “wise” John’s undivided perpetual belief that she is not psychologically ill yet “slightly hysterical” due to his title as the respectable “physician”. In ‘A thousand splendid suns’, male patriarchy is presented through the victimization of Mariam whom accepts the circumstances she is faced, which is equally a trait seen in Celie, who stays reticent during Alphonso’s rape. Hosseini exposes the truth about islamist traditions, for instance the “burqa”, whilst actually intended to protect women is instead used to oppress them.
Hosseini illustrates the “suffocating way the pleated cloth kept pressing against her mouth”. Like Walker, Hosseini portrays the restricting nature of patriarchal culture through the silencing of women, using the hard plosives such as “kept” which connotes male anger, Nonetheless, Hosseini combines this with consonants with a softer touch such as “cloth”, mirroring ***
as it does for Mariam. The “cloth” reveals that the burqa is merely a tool of patriarchy: it “presses” as if with no influence of anything “against her mouth” and is somewhat suffocating Mariam phsycially. Whilst Walker uses Alphonso’s blribery to silence Celie, Hosseini expands this by personifying a physical object, for instance the burqa, that restricts Mariam’s physical action and silencing the speech of women
Hosseini juxtaposes the “burqa” with free, dynamic verbs used to depict the rival community of liberal Afghan women who were “all swinging their handbags and rustling skirts…their lips red as tulips”. The “red colour may personify courage and lust: the culture that more western women inhabit, yet are danger to patriarchs and women like Mariam whom becomes “mystified” by their mere presence. Walker also uses the colour red as a symbol of freedom: Celie sees it as a sign of confidence that Shug might wear, and Kate notable claims “he won’t pay for red. Too Happy lookin”. To contrast this, Celie’s new dress and Mariam’s burqa are blue, symbolising anguish and melancholy, perhaps the result of patriarchy. Patriarchal society is also explored by Rhys whom presents the parrot Coco that reflects restrictions placed on Antoinette and Annette, by Mr mason, Antoinette’s father as its “clipped wings failed him and he fell screeching”. Rhys’ reference to ‘clipped wings’ creates an image of bodily entrapment and may essentially be referring to the restrictions of free nature and physical suppression which directly mirrors Antoinette’s treatment by Mr Mason. This can somewhat be compared to Walkers representation of Alphonso who sexually traps Celie into a state of physical inability whilst telling her to “shut up” during rape.