Lesson Guide: Introduction
In honor of Women’s History Month, this lesson focuses on
the celebrated author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker,
and her essay “Am I Blue?” The essay raises interesting
questions about animal communication and the treatment of animals—issues
that will be explored through this lesson.
Ask students to read Alice Walker’s essay “Am I Blue?”
then ask them to share personal stories about animal communication.
For example, you might ask students to explain how they know when
their animal companions are happy, scared, bored, lonely, or ill.
Ask students if they have heard of Alice Walker. Invite those who
know of her to share their knowledge with the class, then tell them
more about Walker by using the following brief biography and the
A Brief Biography of Alice Walker
Alice Walker was born in the segregated Georgia town of Eatonton
in 1944, the eighth child of two sharecroppers. When she was 8 years
old, her older brother accidentally shot her in the eye—blinding
her. Despite her disability, she became the valedictorian of her
high school and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence
College. After college, Walker started the publishing company Wild
Her experiences led to her passion for justice, which is woven throughout
her prolific writing and reflected in her life choices. She is a
champion of women, people of color, and animals. In her book In
Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, she coined the term “womanism,”
which helped give a voice to the unique concerns of black women
in the women’s movement. She was active in the civil rights
movement of the 1960s and continues to be an activist for people
of color today.
Walker also feels deep empathy for animals. In fact, she feels animal
emotions so keenly that she often relates her own experiences with
discrimination to the way that animals are commonly treated. She
wrote the preface to Marjorie Spiegel’s book The Dreaded
Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, which compares the historical
enslavement of black people to the modern-day treatment of animals.
Learn more about Alice Walker by clicking on the following links:
Click here to continue.