The relationships between mistresses and wives in this novel seem rather unconventional; in most novels, wives battle mistresses, and vice versa. It is possible, however, that Walker intentionally creates relationships based on the West African tradition of polygamy, a tradition in which the wives are bonded through work and friendship as though they were sisters.Note that Celie, Shug, and Squeak are not going to some mythical Land of Happiness in the North. At that time, there were still Jim Crow laws in the South that prohibited blacks from using the same public facilities as whites, but the women aren't "running"; they are staying in the South, driving to Memphis, through northern Georgia, "going off in the bushes," if necessary, but staying in the country they know — claiming what they can, as long as they can.
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