Homosexuality and Gender in The Color Purple - a comparative analysis between the book and the movie adaptation

Josefine Løvig Rasmussen, Caroline Sofie Jensen, Anna Maria Oikonomou, Arianna Durazzi & Merve Derya Yazıcıoğlu

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This paper investigates the differences between the book The Color Purple and the movie adaptation of the same title, which was made three years after by Steven Spielberg. We will compare the gendered representations of the characters and the representation of the homosexual relationship between the main character Celie and the character Shug in order to uncover how the movie adaptation differ from the book. We will investigate this by applying Judith Butler’s theory of performativity to our analysis of the characters. This will enable us to discuss their gendered representations by looking into how they behave, speak or dress, as Butler perceive genders to be constructed from a repetition of stylized acts determined by cultural and historical possibilities. For our analysis, we will mainly use Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan’s work on narrative fiction to analyze the book and Roland Barthes’ definition of denotation and connotation to analyze the movie. We seek to clarify the main alterations from the original text to the manuscript for the movie. We will discuss what these modifications say about the society for which the book and the movie were made. Lastly, we will link this to a discussion of why the book is still regularly requested to be banned from public libraries for its homosexual content in contemporary America.

UddannelserEngelsk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato19 maj 2015


  • The Color Purple
  • homosexuality
  • books
  • movie
  • Steven Spielberg
  • comparative
  • Alice Walker
  • censorship
  • analysis