In literature, catharsis describes the ways characters cleanse their emotions. This concept originated with the Greeks who believed catharsis, an emotional "discharge," offered moral and spiritual renewal resulting in stress and anxiety reduction.
First Madison, as she prepares to compose the analytical essay for her senior project on The Color Purple, and I discussed the approach she's taking. Her plan is to analyze the ways art, songs, and letters inform our understanding of the women in The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Madison and I talked about Celie's sexuality as an umbrella for the analysis she'll offer in her essay.
Although we have not discussed specific support from the novel she'll use, I can see Maddie identifying with this passage:
I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way...I can't apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to...We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful...We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.
Madison and I have had numerous discussions about the ways girls in our community are taught and expected to diminish themselves, to make themselves less than, to silence themselves, to pander to patriarchal expectations and power structures. Literature that presents strong women who refuse to pander, who refuse to be less than anyone or thing appeals to Madison. Indeed, it speaks to all the young women in the class, many of whom have grown weary of the lack of egalitarianism in our culture.
As we experience catharsis in literature through characters, we learn to cope with our own emotions, with our own pain.
Sam spoke about the way YA literature offers moments of identification for readers during his speech about YA author Laurie Halse Anderson. Through Halse-Anderson's personal story, Sam sees himself. During his speech, he showed the class one of her high school report cards! Sam knows he's not alone in the struggles he faces as a teen. Two of the books that mean the most to Sam are Speak and Twisted.
|Sam right after his speech w/ one of his Visual Aides.|