Letters 88–90: Summary and Analysis
Nettie writes happily that Adam and Tashi have returned. While Adam and Tashi were in the forest, they uncovered a huge hidden city full of displaced members of different tribes. When they return, Adam asks Tashi to marry him, but she refuses. Tashi is afraid that with her scars she will be looked upon as a savage in America and Adam will eventually become ashamed of her. Adam promises her that he will always be with her, and proves this by having his face scarred in the same manner. Tashi and Adam are married by Samuel, and they immediately set out for home.
While Celie waits for Nettie to come home, she sets up her store and employs Sofia as a clerk. Harpo takes care of the children. He gets some extra help from Eleanor Jane, who found out why Sofia was her maid and feels the need to make amends. Mr.____ asks Celie to marry him again, and Celie offers to be his friend instead. Just when Celie knows she “can live content without Shug,” she gets a letter from Shug which says that she is coming back. Celie guesses that to be content on one’s own is “the lesson I suppose to learn.”
One day, while Shug, Albert, and Celie are sitting on the porch, they see a car in the distance. The car pulls up to their driveway and Nettie, Samuel, Olivia, Adam, and Tashi get out and walk up to the porch. Celie and Nettie fall into each other’s arms and cry.
The last scene is at the family reunion, which always takes place on the Fourth of July. It is a gigantic barbecue, with everyone laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Celie looks at everyone and marvels that she is actually reunited with her sister. Even though it has been 30 years since she has last seen her and she is an old woman, she thinks “this is the youngest [I] ever felt.”
All of the conflicts in this novel are resolved in the final section. Even though Nettie and Samuel plan to leave Africa after the destruction of the Olinka tribe, Adam and Tashi discover a grand, unified tribe hidden in a canyon. This society is almost a utopia, or perfect society, in which black men and women from all over Africa have worked together for a common cause. The missionaries leave Africa with the suggestion that some people will not suffer...
(The entire section is 620 words.)