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The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

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Letters 64–69: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why is Nettie proud of the villagers as they talk with the roadbuilders?

2. How have Adam and Olivia changed during their five years in Africa?

3. Describe an Olinka funeral.

4. How is Samuel made uneasy by the relationships between men and women in the Olinka village?

5. What does Nettie mean when she says “a grown child is a dangerous thing”?

6. How does Corrine treat the children now?

7. Why does Corrine want to examine Nettie’s stomach?

8. How did Celie’s mother become mentally unstable after her first husband died, according to the story?

9. What is the “key” to handling white people, according to Alphonso?

10. Why doesn’t Celie’s father have a marked grave?

1. Nettie is proud of the people of the Olinka tribe because they always show up with foods and gifts for the roadbuilders, proving that they are a generous and loving tribe.

2. Adam and Olivia are almost as tall as Nettie now. Both have learned so much that Adam is afraid that there will be nothing left for Samuel to teach.

3. The women of the village paint their faces white and wear white shrouds. While they “cry in a high keening voice” the body is wrapped in barkcloth and buried.

4. Samuel’s job is “to preach the Bible’s directive of one husband and one wife.” He is also confused because the women of the village seem happy and always spend time with one another. They do it in order to keep away from their husbands, not because they are happy with their lives.

5. The Olinka men are “children” because they are spoiled by their wives. They act irrationally, are overly sensitive, and do not understand the consequences of their actions. Nettie feels that this childish behavior is dangerous because Olinka men possess the power of life and death over their wives. A wife can be killed if her husband simply accuses her of witchcraft. This power, coupled with immaturity, makes for a dangerous person.

6. Corrine can’t bear to look at the children; she hadn’t even told them that they were adopted.

7. She thinks there are stretch marks on Nettie’s stomach, which would prove that she was the mother of Olivia and Adam.

8. Celie’s mother continued to act as if her husband was alive, and set his place at the table. She would also tell her neighbors grandiose plans for the future that she was making with her husband.

9. Alphonso always believed that the key to handling whites was money. Celie’s father was killed because he never gave money to the whites, supposedly, and Alphonso makes it a point to hire a white boy in his store and “just right off offer to give him money.”

10. Celie’s father was lynched, and lynch mobs do not provide crosses or headstones for their victims.

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