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

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

Start Free Trial

Letters 52–60 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated May 2, 2023.

Celie is reading about Nettie's experiences after she left Mr. ____'s farm. Nettie's own letters describe how she was trailed by Mr. ____, who intended to sexually exploit her, as she departed the farm. However, Nettie was able to inflict some harm on him and flee. She eventually arrives at the residence of Reverend Mr.____, where she is taken aback to discover a young girl with eyes that are identical to her sister's opening the door.

The reverend and his wife, Samuel and Corrine, take her in and entrust her with the care of their children, Adam and Olivia. Although she enjoys the family's companionship and feels content, she is concerned about Celie, who had sacrificed for her. Samuel and Corrine, who are missionaries getting ready for a mission in Africa, offer her refuge and become her source of joy and friendship.

Nettie grows worried as she fails to receive any replies and realizes that Mr.____ is withholding Celie's letters from her. With the family's imminent departure to Africa, Nettie feels unsure of what to do next as she will need to secure a new job in town.

Afterwards, Nettie informs Celie that she will be traveling to Africa with Samuel and Corrine. One of the missionaries who was supposed to go had to cancel due to her unexpected marriage, and Nettie was offered her spot. As Nettie gets ready to depart, she visits the town to buy some things and comes across Sofia, who is taking care of the mayor's wife. Without knowing Sofia's background, Nettie tells Celie that Sofia seemed like an unlikely person to be attending to someone, especially someone as important as the mayor's wife.

In rich and elaborate language, she recounts her journey to Africa through New York, expressing her amazement and pleasure at every aspect of the experience. She brings to Celie's attention that their forefathers originated from Africa and that many Africans were enslaved and traded, including themselves.

Nevertheless, upon beholding the African shoreline for the first time, she feels a profound resonance in her soul, likened to a massive bell, and ponders if she will ever be able to convey the entirety of her experience to Celie.

Celie is filled with shock as she reads the letters and feels an overwhelming desire to kill Mr.____ because of what he has done. Shug tries to calm her down by reminding her that Nettie will come back one day, and she wouldn't want Celie to have changed in the meantime. Shug also mentions that if Celie were to harm Mr. ____, it would result in Shug leaving her just like what happened with Sofia. Celie then asks Shug if she can sleep with her instead of Mr ____. while she is around, to which Shug agrees without hesitation.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Letters 49–51 Summary


Letters 61-63 Summary