The Color Purple Letters 80–81: Questions and Answers

Alice Walker

Letters 80–81: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How is Nettie surprised by her own appearance?

2. What do Nettie and Samuel now do for the Olinka tribe?

3. What are the signs all over Africa that a war is coming?

4. Why does Doris decide against becoming a nun?

5. What is the pseudonym of Doris Baines?

6. What pleasure is Doris willing to pay handsomely for?

7. What do people that meet Samuel and Nettie on the street in England always say?

8. What are some of the questions that the Olinka tribe always asked the missionaries?

9. What would have happened if Adam struck Tashi?

10. What does Nettie call Samuel in the postscript of her letter to Celie?

Answers
1. Nettie has become “plump and graying.”

2. Nettie and Samuel do nothing now but teach the young children.

3. Roads are being built to where supplies are kept. The trees are being cut down in order to make “ships and captain’s furniture.” Land is being planted with “something you can’t eat,” and the natives are forced to work on these fields. Doris takes all of these events as signs of an impending war.

4. Doris Baines wanted nothing more than to be her own boss. If she chose to become a nun, then God would be her boss.

5. Her pen name is Jared Hunt.

6. For Doris, the pleasure of being alone is without price.

7. Passers-by always seem to notice how much Adam and Olivia look like Nettie.

8. Samuel says that the people of the tribe ask missionaries questions like: “Why don’t you speak our language? Why can’t you remember the old ways? Why aren’t you happy in America, if everyone there drives motorcars?”

9. If Adam ever hit her, Nettie says that Tashi would put his head “through her rug loom.”

10. Samuel is called Celie’s brother in Nettie’s letter.