The novel The Color Purple opens with Celie asking God about what is happening to her: "Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me." Celie's mother has left to see a doctor, and her father rapes her while the mother is away. Her father threatens her and tells her not to tell anyone what has happened, so Celie can only resort to talking to God about her problems. Celie does not understand why such violence has befallen her, and she does not understand what is happening to her body once she is pregnant. As the novel progresses, she continues to ask God about the trials in her life that she must endure until she begins to stand up for herself and starts writing letters to her sister Nettie instead of writing to God.