Resources for Teachers and Students on Alice Walker

Prepare: Ever since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her book, The Color Purple, Alice Walker has been more renowned as a novelist than as a poet or essayist. She is, however, an accomplished writer in all three genres. Her biography is listed by the Academy of American Poets on their website.

Read: Alice Walker's Architects of Peace essay is excerpted from her collection of essays, Anything We Love Can be Saved. Her premise is that peace is related to the ability to take delight in other human beings.

Explore: As its contribution each year to Black History Month, Thomson Gale, an educational publishing house, maintains a website of free resources for the educational community. A critical summary of Alice Walker's body of work, written by Michael E. Muellero, can be found on the Thomson Gale website.

Write: In her Architects of Peace essay, Alice Walker wrote, "I do not believe the people of the world are naturally my enemies, or that animals, including snakes, are, or that Nature is." As preparation to write a three-to-five page persuasive essay, choose either to defend or argue against this claim. At some point in your essay, consider the following questions: Do human beings have natural enemies? Is it a natural or unnatural state for humans to consider each other enemies? Is it part of human nature to value peace?

Extend: One of the international issues about which Alice Walker has been outspoken, both in her writing and in interviews, is female genital mutilation, FGM, which is practiced in many countries as a rite of passage into womanhood. She participated in making a documentary film called, "Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women," and is also co-author of a book published under this same title. It can be found in most libraries.

Additional Resource: The University of Minnesota maintains a website about women writers of color called "Voices from the Gaps." The Alice Walker resources can also be accessed on this site.

Biography of Alice Walker