Mostly black and white illustration of nine letters, one of them has been opened

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

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Letters 49–51 Summary

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Last Updated on May 2, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 292

Shug comes to Celie with several queries about Nettie as she was the only female Celie had ever cherished. Celie responded that she had been anticipating a letter from Nettie every day for many years, but she never received one. Following this conversation, Shug resumed spending time with Mr.____, which deeply surprised and hurt Grady and Celie.

It doesn't take long to understand Shug's motive for her actions. After a week, Shug hands Celie a letter from Nettie, which Mr.____ had retrieved from his mailbox and concealed in his jacket pocket. It's evident that Mr.____ has been keeping these letters from Celie, and learning about this causes Celie to become temporarily insane. She even entertains the idea of killing him and even attempts to approach him from behind with a razor, but Shug intervenes and stops her.

Shug attempts to soothe Celie by recounting her past experience of being courted by Albert when she was young. Shug admits to her previous misdeeds of being a wicked person who tormented both Annie Julia, Mr. ____’s former wife, and Celie, despite her lack of interest in marrying him. Shug expresses disbelief at the transformation of the man she once knew into a cruel monster and is equally astounded that she had feelings for him.

Celie and Shug become aware of the possibility of finding additional letters in Mr. ____'s trunk, and decide to search it the next time Grady and Mr. are away. During their search, they discover numerous letters written by Nettie, which were hidden in the bottom of the trunk. They use steam to open the letters and then carefully return the empty envelopes to Mr.____'s trunk. Shug takes on the task of organizing the letters, while Celie starts reading them.

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Letters 45–48 Summary


Letters 52–60 Summary