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 80–81 Summary

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Last Updated May 5, 2023.

In the opening of her letter, Nettie informs that she and Samuel tied the knot in the autumn of the previous year, in England. While in England, they attempted to obtain assistance for the Olinkas, who had been forced out of their entire village to make way for the rubber plantation's new headquarters.

Every hut in the village has been destroyed, leaving the villagers with no choice but to reside in a large shelter covered in tin, which they had to fund themselves. Samuel and Nettie are unable to prevent this situation and decide that their only option is to travel to England to seek justice. While en route to England, they encounter Doris Baines, a prosperous ex-missionary who writes books and accompanies an African child she has adopted as her grandson on her journeys.

Doris, who was born into a wealthy family, was extremely bored with her life and so she made the decision to become a missionary and live in a secluded environment. She was sent to Africa and used her family's wealth to construct an entire town single-handedly. The chief of the tribe was deeply appreciative of her efforts and sent her a few women as wives, as he thought she was not a woman. Doris taught and educated these girls and then gave them to a couple of local men. Currently, she takes pleasure in being referred to as the "grandmama" of their children.

Upon arriving in England, the Missionary Society's focus shifts towards investigating the reason why Nettie didn't depart immediately after Corrine's passing, in order to maintain appearances and prevent any misunderstandings with the Olinka people. The issues facing the Olinka tribe are disregarded, causing Samuel and Nettie to feel disheartened. Samuel comes to the conclusion that the only course of action left is to encourage the Olinka to align with the mbeles, a group of rebels living in the forest, separate from the influence of the white men.

During their time together in England, Samuel recounts to Nettie how he came to meet Corrine. Samuel and Corrine were frequently regaled with stories of their aunts' adventures, as Samuel's aunt and Corrine's aunt were close friends. Despite being bombarded with these stories, the young couple took them in good spirits.

One evening, Corrine's aunt started telling a story she often repeated about receiving an award from King Leopold of Belgium. However, a young scholar interrupted with stories of the king's extreme cruelty.

Now, Samuel empathizes with Theodosia's feelings because he also feels undervalued for his efforts to improve the Olinka village. Nettie tries to console Samuel, and their comfort for each other turns into a romantic passion.

After revealing their intention to wed to the children, Samuel and Nettie inform Adam and Olivia about their biological mother. Learning that Celie is a victim of spousal abuse, Adam is upset, but Samuel assures him that they will go back to the United States and locate her.

Following their marriage, Olivia confides in Nettie about another matter that is troubling Adam. He has feelings for Tashi and is worried about her because she is about to undergo a facial scarring ritual as part of her coming-of-age tradition. However, the situation is made worse by the fact that Tashi is also scheduled to undergo female genital mutilation, which is also part of the initiation ceremony.

After going back to the Olinka village, Adam and Olivia attempt to locate Tashi, but their efforts prove fruitless. After two days of searching, Tashi eventually shows up, and her face is covered in scars that are causing her considerable discomfort. Upon seeing the scars, Adam is repulsed and decides he wants to go back to America. Nettie, on the other hand, remains optimistic that Adam will eventually forgive Tashi. Despite the increased effort she must put in to sustain the village, Nettie feels happier now that she has "a loving soul" to share her life with.

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Letters 78–79 Summary


Letters 82–85 Summary