Letter 80 is a rich storehouse of all the themes of the novel. The three most significant themes discussed are male and female relationships, African and black American relationships, and personal independence. Concerning the second of these themes, you should be aware that Samuel and Nettie (now that Corrine is dead) are good missionaries, but they have no sense of place; they don't belong. They belong neither to the world of the European power structure nor to the traditional world of the black West African. They belong only to God and to one another. In the world of growing avarice and exploitation that is encroaching into the jungle, they are powerless. Samuel is disappointed that the Olinka never recognized them as blood brother and sister. In fact, the Olinka reject Samuel and Nettie, suspicious of their rejection of America's "progress" — motorcars, for example. Had Samuel and Nettie not have gotten married, they both may have ended up feeling completely
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Du Bois, B. Du Bois, civil rights leader, European power structure, black American relationships