Everything you need to understand or teach Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker.
The central themes in Possessing the Secret of Joy fit together like a reasoned argument. Established first is a concern central to all of Walker's work: the subjugation of women. In this novel the focus is specifically on how ritualized female circumcision denigrates women's bodies, minds, and spirits.
The cataloguing of circumcision's horrific effects begins with the moving opening scene of Tashi as a young girl crying soundlessly among adults for her dead sister, the victim of a botched mutilation. Because of the powerful taboo against acknowledging the practice, no one shows any emotion or offers to comfort the little girl.
Later, Tashi herself undergoes the ritual to identify with the Olinka people, whose freedom fighters, in throwing off the yoke of imperialism, seek social cohesiveness by encouraging tribal traditions. Tashi finds the ritual serves to strengthen patriarchal power at her heavy expense. Urination takes her... View more of the Possessing the Secret of Joy Summary