The Color Purple Lesson Plan

September 2021 | A Queer Endeavor

This lesson plan from A Queer Endeavor focuses on gender roles in The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. The lesson is based on the following guiding questions: In what ways do socially constructed ideas of gender roles impact characters’ choices and relationships in The Color Purple? To what extent do socially constructed ideas of gender roles continue to function in our society today? How are all humans impacted by rigid ideas of gender?

The lesson includes opportunities for students to analyze the gender expression of characters in the book and reflect on their own conceptualizations of gender. Students are asked to examine how gender norms manifest in excerpts from the text and how they connect to portrayals of gender in the media. Finally, the lesson concludes with students reflecting on gender norms and expectations within their school and how they can interact with others in ways that affirm all gender identities. 

Program and Curricular Materials