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 78–79 Summary

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Last Updated February 17, 2023.

Upon learning of the passing of Sofia's mother, Celie returns to visit Harpo and Sofia. She has undergone such significant transformations that Mr.____ fails to recognize her as she walks through his farm. As Celie nears their dwelling, she overhears Harpo and Sofia arguing.

Sofia plans to participate as a pallbearer at her mother's funeral, but Harpo believes that it is more typical for men to perform this duty. However, Sofia is determined to do it. While they were discussing, Celie arrives, and they pause their conversation to welcome her with affection.

Harpo inquires about the reason for Mary Agnes' emotional distance, and Celie explains that she has been using marijuana regularly. Grady cultivates and vends marijuana from his own property, and Celie partakes in smoking a joint with Sofia and Harpo.

At the funeral, Sofia and her sisters appear strong and powerful as they carry the coffin, resembling "amazons." The rest of the mourners seem accustomed to this tradition. Later, Celie observes that Mr.____ looks tidy after the service. He approaches Celie and speaks respectfully, though he seems afraid of her. Mr.____ expresses worry about Sofia's youngest daughter, Henrietta, who has a potentially fatal blood disease. Losing her daughter would cause Sofia even more distress as she has already suffered the loss of her mother.

Sofia informs Celie that after he departed, Mr.____ was in a pitiful state. He behaved in a disorderly and careless manner and neglected his well-being. Harpo had to take care of him by providing him with food and cleaning up, since Mr.____ was in a state of despair. Sofia was impressed when she saw Harpo holding his sleeping father, which rekindled her love for him. Mr.____'s condition began to improve after Harpo compelled him to give Celie the remaining letters from Nettie. Sofia commented that being unkind can have devastating consequences.

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Letters 74–77 Summary


Letters 80–81 Summary