Themes and message

The main theme of the short story “The Abortion” by Alice Walker is abortion, focusing on differences between how men and women relate to it. The story also includes political and social motifs as it is set after the Civil Rights Movement and it touches upon racial killings (Holly Monroe).

The message of the author is a feminist one as the story sheds light on women’s situation in 1970s American society, particularly in connection to their rights over their bodies and how these rights were confined.


The theme of abortion is key to the text, as the title indicates. The story explores the way abortion affects women as well as male and female attitudes to it.

The protagonist of the story, Imani, is a woman who already went through an abortion in her school years. At that time, she felt that having an abortion was the best choice she could make, given her young age. But it was also a risk: abortions were expensive and dangerous as they were illegal. This part of the story reminds readers of women’s fight for control over their bodies and of the way their choices were often limited by state and religion (in ways that were often determined by men)...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in