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 52–60: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why does Nettie correct herself when she says that Corrine and Samuel have been “like family to me”?

2. Why does Nettie still write to Celie after she realizes that Mr.____ won’t let her have these letters?

3. What does Nettie want to tell Corrine and Samuel about their children, who “were sent by God” to them?

4. When does Nettie come into contact with American prejudice?

5. How do the people of Harlem feel about Africa?

6. How do the so-called “Europeans” of the Missionary Society differ from the “Africans,” according to Nettie?

7. What is the name of the ship that takes Nettie across the Atlantic?

8. List Nettie’s itinerary from England to Africa.

9. What doesn’t Nettie like about the Senegalese?

10. What did Christ want to add on to the end of the commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” and why, according to Shug?

1. Nettie realizes that Samuel and Corrine have been kinder to her than her own family, so she says that they have been like her own family “might have been.”

2. Nettie is very lonely, and she remembers that Celie still writes letters to God whenever she feels the need to write. Nettie takes Celie for inspiration and continues to send letters because it makes her feel better thinking that her sister might one day read them.

3. Nettie wants to tell them that “God has sent [Olivia and Adam] their sister and aunt.”

4. Nettie, along with the entire family, had to sit in the “sit-down” section of the train, without beds. They were not allowed to use the restaurant, and had to use different toilets. In addition to this, when they meet a white man in South Carolina who asks them where they are going, he turns and says to his wife, “Niggers going to Africa, now I have seen everything.”

5. The people in Harlem love Africa, and even the children contribute their pennies to the missionaries.

6. The “Europeans” or white missionaries were supposedly successful because they didn’t “coddle their charges.” Samuel points out that they have a different agenda from the previous missionaries. While the white missionaries wanted to educate the “savages” in order to spread the word of God, Samuel, Corrine, and Nettie are “black like the Africans themselves.” Their goal is to work for “the uplift of black people everywhere.”

7. The ship is called the Malaga.

8. Nettie leaves Southampton, England on July 24, and is scheduled to arrive in Monrovia, Liberia on September 12. There will be stops in Lisbon, Portugal, and Dakar, Senegal.

9. The Senegalese in the market were too concerned about selling their products, and Nettie felt that they looked through her “as quickly as...the French white people who lived there” if she didn’t buy anything.

10. Shug thinks that Jesus Christ probably wanted to add “starting with me,” because He realized there were fools in this world that good people would want to kill.

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