Literature Study GuidesThe Color PurpleSection 15 Letters 88 90 Summary

The Color Purple | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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The Color Purple | Section 15, Letters 88–90 | Summary



Letter 88: Nettie to Celie

Adam finds Tashi and her mother and brings them back to the village. He proposes to Tashi, but she refuses. Tashi worries American blacks will be repulsed by her facial scars and dark black skin and that Adam will leave her for a light-skinned black woman who tries "to look naked." In response, Adam has his face scarred like hers and convinces her they will go through life together sharing everything. As soon as they marry, Samuel, Nettie, Adam, Tashi, and Olivia board a ship for the United States.

Letter 89: Celie to Nettie

Shug goes to the State Department to try to find out more details about the ship that sunk with Nettie and her family. More concerned with the war at hand, no one can clarify anything for her. Sofia and Harpo renew their marriage, and Sofia works in Celie's store to support the black clientele. Eleanor Jane prepares food every day for Henrietta. Celie and Mr. ___ talk about types of love and the purpose of life. Mr. ___ believes the purpose of life is to question and wonder, which leads to love. Celie adds that love begets love. Mr. ___ asks Celie to marry him again, "this time in the spirit as well as in the flesh," but she turns him down. They remain friends, and he sews shirts to go with her pants. Shug leaves Germaine and joins Celie in her home.

Letter 90: Celie to God

One hot June day, when Celie, Shug, and Albert are relaxing on Celie's front porch, Nettie, Samuel, Olivia, Adam, and Tashi get out of a car and walk up Celie's driveway. Mary Agnes, having left Grady, returns, as well, reestablishing contact with Suzie Q and planning to start singing again. Celie thanks God for the reunion.


By the story's end, Celie finds the oneness in life she so desperately struggled to attain: "Dear God. Dear stars, Dear trees, Dear sky, Dear peoples. Dear everything. Dear God." She loves and accepts herself and the people and world around her. When Mr. ___ proposes marriage, she is free to say to the man she now calls Albert, "Naw ... but let us be friends." She realizes when Shug returns, as with Albert, she only wants to enjoy the platonic love found in true friendship.

The themes of racism and religion acquire more depth in the character of Eleanor Jane. She is trying to raise her son to accept blacks as equals. Without being asked, she cooks for Henrietta, devising one dish with hidden yams after another. Sofia explains the young woman found out why Sofia worked for her parents and was horror-struck. When Eleanor Jane's family shows their disgust she has chosen to work for blacks, she shocks them by replying, "Who ever heard of someone like Sofia working for trash." Worried about the prejudice that surrounds them, Harpo says, "I'm satisfied if her menfolks against her helping you, she gon quit." When Sofia says, "Let her quit. It not my salvation she working for," readers find again the motif of second chances, reminiscent of the true God Shug introduces to Celie.

When Celie sees her children and Samuel supporting Nettie as they walk up her driveway, Celie, too, needs Albert's and Shug's support, and she is gladdened she doesn't have to ask for it. Finally, she is part of a family.

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