A short summary of Alice Walker’s work.
Alice Walker’s Beauty: When the Other Dance Is the Self
Catharsis is the process by which we mature, the trial by fire that sears away our imperfections. Alice Walker’s blinding in one eye as a child started a process of catharsis that lasted until she had a child of her own. That physical and psychological wound resulted in Walker’s final realization that beauty is multifaceted and deformities are not always deformities; they sometimes are the key to unlocking a greater character within you.
As a child Alice Walker was shot in the eye with a BB gun which resulted in a large cataract growing over it. This fundamentally changed Walker’s personality, turning her from a vivacious young girl into a shy introvert. She worried about her eye even after having the cataract removed, almost foregoing a magazine interview because of it. The culmination of her catharsis is when her daughter notices her eye and she thinks her daughter will be ashamed; instead her daughter asks her why she has a world in her eye. This strikes a chord with Walker and causes her to rethink her eye. The story ends with Walker stating that she is free and so is her daughter, free of the conventions of beauty and conformity.