Last Updated on February 17, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 378
Nettie informs Samuel and Corrine that she is the aunt of Adam and Olivia, and their mother is Nettie's sister, Celie. Nevertheless, Corrine expresses disbelief in Nettie's claim. Nettie attempts to jog Corrine's memory of meeting Celie in a dry goods store many years prior, but Corrine is unable to recall the encounter.
When Nettie presents a quilt to Corrine, which was made from the fabric that Corrine had purchased long ago to make a dress for Olivia, Corrine becomes emotional and starts crying. Corrine had erased Celie from her memory because of Celie's resemblance to Olivia, and she feared that Celie might try to take her daughter away. Samuel, Corrine, and Nettie embrace each other until Corrine falls asleep. Afterwards, Corrine whispers to Samuel, "I believe," and passes away.
Corrine's burial follows the traditions of the Olinka culture, and her death has affected everyone, causing them to experience grief and suffering. Samuel, in particular, appears to be deeply affected and lost. Nettie uses this opportunity to express her sorrow for Celie's absence and prays for their reunion. When Samuel inquires about Celie's appearance, Nettie eagerly describes her sister with a sense of urgency. Samuel expresses remorse for not having intervened in Celie's marriage to Mr.____.
Celie has started writing a new letter to her sister Nettie instead of addressing it to God. This surprises and upsets Shug because Celie appears to be disregarding God. Shug's belief in God also surprises Celie given the difficult life she has had. Shug explains that God exists within a person and not necessarily within a religious institution. Shug does not follow Christianity and instead sees God in everything and believes that the best way to show devotion to God is by appreciating the world that God has created.
Celie makes a great effort to rid her mind of the stereotypical image of God as an old white man. She endeavors to embrace the idea that "God is everything" and to develop a spiritual love for God. Nevertheless, she finds this to be a challenging task, since she has believed in God as a white man for her entire life. Although she tries to forget this man, she finds it difficult as he seems to be unyielding and persistent in her mind.