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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Heather Mayne

First Committee Member

Douglas M. Tedards


In this thesis, I will argue that the characters and groups in Walker's The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar, who practice holistic survival, remain or become whole, which is the key to living a meaningful life. For Walker, holistic survival entails embracing the fragments of our past, present, and future experiences. The past is made up of knowing about our personal experiences and remembering our heritage. The present is made up of healing the past by taking responsibility for the pain we have caused and valuing fellow life, and the future is made by using the past and present to create hope. It is not enough to merely survive, to continue breathing;rather, in order to survive whole, we must also successfully paste together the fragments that make up our past, present, and future. However, the consequences of neglecting any fragment can cause us to become lost. We can either collect and come to terms with our many fragments in order to become whole, or our experiences will remain scattered, leaving us fragmented beings.



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