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The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

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Letters 22–27 Summary

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Last Updated February 17, 2023.

Word spreads throughout the town that Shug Avery is ill. Despite being abandoned by her parents, nobody is willing to take her in. Additionally, the townspeople seem to take pleasure in Shug's sickness, with even the preacher delivering a sermon that indirectly criticizes her way of life. Although Celie is angered by this mistreatment, she does not take any action. However, Mr. ____ responds quickly by asking Harpo to get the wagon ready and leaving town. After five days, he returns with Shug Avery and instructs Celie to prepare the guest room.

Mr.____ attempts to provide care for Shug, but her illness leaves her feeble and despondent, causing her to reject his efforts. Consequently, Celie takes it upon herself to look after Shug, and gradually, Shug's health improves. When Celie helps Shug bathe, she experiences an unusual sensation that she has never felt before, almost like she has transformed into a man. Shug regains her appetite and allows Celie to groom her hair, which leads her to burst into song.

During Shug's recuperation, the owner of the farm where they work, who is also the father of Mr. ___, comes to visit and expresses dissatisfaction with Shug's stay. Unexpectedly, Celie supports Mr. ___ during their argument. Mr. ___'s father scolds him for allowing Shug Avery to stay, and Celie shows her displeasure by spitting in his water. As Celie and Mr. defend Shug against Mr.___'s father, Celie realizes that this is the closest they have ever felt since they got married.

After Shug recovers and becomes mobile, Celie instructs her on how to quilt. During this time, Tobias, the brother of Mr. ___, pays a visit to their house and brings Shug a box of chocolates. The atmosphere is delightful, and as Mr. ___, Tobias, Shug, and Celie converse, Celie expresses that she feels content for the first time ever.

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Letters 19–21 Summary

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Letters 28–31 Summary