Literature Study GuidesThe Color PurpleSection 11 Letters 76 79 Summary

The Color Purple | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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The Color Purple | Section 11, Letters 76–79 | Summary



Shug lives in a mansion on an estate. Celie notes her friend loves to talk about her dream home, cook huge meals, and clean her house. Celie wants to go with her to help her out when Shug's on the road, but the singer knows she puts on an act in front of her crowds and doesn't want Celie to see her that way. While Shug is gone, Celie begins to fill the Memphis home with designer pants. After she makes a perfect pair for Shug, Odessa's husband, Jack, and Mary Agnes, with each pair fitting the wearer's lifestyle and personality, she realizes her calling. Her business, Folkpants Unlimited, is born, and she enjoys a deluge of orders.

During a trip to Georgia to attend the funeral for Sofia's mother, Celie hears Harpo and Sofia arguing over male and female roles. Sofia plans to be a pallbearer along with her sisters and brothers. Celie explains Grady and Mary Agnes live together, and she is a popular singer. Mr. ___ and Celie have a civil dialogue. He works his fields and takes care of his home and meals after having almost died. Sofia explains that once he sent Celie all of Nettie's letters, he changed because, "You know meanness kill."


Celie's last verbal battle with her husband reveals the extent of her development. Instead of cowering in the submissive role she adopted as a young teenager, Celie stiffens her spine and says, "I curse you ... Until you do right by me, everything you touch will crumble." Mr. ___ abuses her with cruel words, "You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman ... you nothing at all." Not breaking Celie agrees with his description, adding, "But I'm here." She knows she is not a nobody like he says she is, nor is she invisible.

Sofia and Harpo still spar over male and female roles. He can't let go of his belief that "women weaker." Yet he shows his acceptance of his wife's attitude when he questions Sofia's mother about her daughter's obstinate nature. Sofia asks, "What she say?" Harpo answers, "She say that you way as good as anybody else's. Plus it's yours."

Mr. ___ also shows a physical and emotional transformation. Not only does he work his fields, but he takes pride in his personal hygiene and clean clothing. According to Sofia, he is also searching for a spiritual awakening. His conversation with Celie after the funeral for Sofia's mother reveals he is sincerely working to free himself from his domineering role, finally understanding that his abuse of others caused him harm as well. Still feeling the emotional and physical scars of years of abuse at his hands, Celie enjoys seeing his fear of her: "Good ... Let him feel what I felt," she thinks.

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