The Color Purple Questions and Answers
by Alice Walker

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Who took care of Sophia's children when she was in jail and in the mayor's service as his wife's maid?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"The Color Purple" by Alice Waker is about the life and trials of several African-American characters.  As in today's society, when something happens to an adult in the African-American community the family steps up to help.   Sofia had been arrested and beaten for insulting the Mayor's wife and knocking the Mayor down.  She was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  When she did get out of prison she was forced to be the maid for the Mayor's wife.  While she was in prison Sofia's family stepped up and helped with the children.  On page 94 Sofia asks about how her children are and Harpo replies,

"They all fine Tween Odessa and Squeak, they git by.  Say thank you to Squeak, she say.  Tell Odessa I think about her."

"Squeak becomes Harpo's girlfriend after Sofia leaves him. When Sofia returns she is quite nasty to her, but she also helps Sofia out when she is jailed for standing up for herself from being insulted by whites."

Harpo, Sofia's husband that she left, Squeak is Harpo's new girlfriend and Odessa is Sofia's sister.  All of these people help raise the children while Sofia is unable to be with them.

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Stephanie Gregg eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Sophia is punished for punching the mayor, Odessa, Sophia's sister, takes in the children.  Sophia is released from jail but is sentenced to work as a maid for the mayor's wife.  It is to Odessa's house that Sophia comes on Christmas with the hopes of spending an entire day with her children, but this hope is dashed when Miss Millie, the mayor's wife, gets stuck in the driveway and demands that Sophia drive her back to town, even though Sophia's brother-in-law volunteers to drive her.  Miss Millie says she can not be seen in the company of a black man.  Odessa cares for the children for almost twelve years when Sophia is finally released from the mayor's service.  She is lost, however, since her older children are grown and her younger children have never known her.

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