What does Nettie value?

In The Color Purple, Nettie has a deep love for God and for her older sister, Celie, but her overriding value is "the uplift of black people everywhere."

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Nettie deeply values Celie, the sister she loves unconditionally, but in terms of her life's work, Nettie most values what she calls in a letter

the uplift of black people everywhere.

Nettie deeply values learning and education and, in large part due to Celie's protection, has had the opportunity to pursue education in a way that has been impossible for her older sister. This leads away from the narrow provincialism that has permeated Celie's early life. Nettie becomes passionate about the broad history and fate of all Black people. Nettie has a particular passion for the future of Black women and pride in herself as a woman. Her education leads her, eventually, to Africa.

Because of her passion for knowledge and for Black people in general, Nettie does not initially marry, throwing her energies in other directions. A religious woman, she studies to become a missionary and believes she will succeed in her career goals. She becomes one of the chorus of optimistic female voices in the novel, encouraging Celie to embrace a large vision of life and possibility. Nettie perseveres in her goals, even in continuing to write Celie when she gets no response, because hope runs so deeply in her soul. She encourages Celie to "fight" for what she wants.

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