The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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Corrine Character Analysis

Samuel's wife, Corrine doubts, until just before her death, that Samuel is telling the truth about the children—Corrine believes that Samuel and Nettie had an affair, and that Olivia and Adam are therefore Samuel and Nettie's biological children. Corrine finally believes Nettie, however, before she succumbs to her illness and dies among the Olinka.

Corrine Quotes in The Color Purple

The The Color Purple quotes below are all either spoken by Corrine or refer to Corrine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Pocket Books edition of The Color Purple published in 1985.
Letter 58 Quotes

Did I mention my first sight of the African coast? Something struck in me, in my soul, Celie, like a large bell, and I just vibrated. Corrine and Samuel felt the same. And we kneeled down right on deck and gave thanks to God for letting us see the land for which our mothers and fathers cried—and lived and died—to see again.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker), Samuel, Corrine
Related Symbols: God
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

Nettie's life is much "larger," geographically, than Celie's is - she travels with Samuel and Corrine into Africa as part of an evangelizing mission, to spread Christianity among African peoples and to share the good news with populations with whom they understand themselves to live in a greater community. Nettie marvels at the seats of African culture and their relationship to black life in the American South. And she wishes that Celie were present to share in this wonderment with her.

Nettie's response to a visit to Africa represents one of many versions of African American cultural revival in the South of this time. For some, like Celie (who has no other choice, in effect), African American life is about living in the United States, about a set of circumstances particular to being born and raised in the South. For others, like Nettie, the African American experience is linked to the African experience, and it is important for her to find the networks that connect one aspect of this broader culture to another. 

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Letter 62 Quotes

Corrine said to me this morning, Nettie, to stop any kind of confusion in the minds of these people, I think we should call one another brother and sister, all the time.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker), Corrine
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:

This conversation has to do with the nature of the Olinka community, where Samuel, Corrine, Nettie, and the children settle. Corrine worries that the Olinka do not understand Samuel's relationship to Nettie - the Olinka believe, in fact, that Samuel has two wives, and that Nettie is the younger, and therefore more desirable, wife. Although Corrine wishes to behave with Christian courtesy both to the community they are visiting and to Nettie, she is visibly upset by the idea, even the merest hint of one, that perhaps Samuel and Corrine have had some form of sexual relationship at some point in the past.

Nettie's interaction with Corrine at this point in the novel makes clear that, despite the loving brother- and sisterhood of Samuel and Corrine's family, everyone in the novel is susceptible to jealousy of a kind. Corrine values the integrity of her marriage and believes that, if the Olinka view Samuel to have taken multiple wives, this integrity might be in jeopardy. 

Letter 71 Quotes

Don't cry. Don't cry, I said. My sister was glad to see Olivia with you. Glad to see her alive. She thought both her children were dead.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker), Corrine, Olivia
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

For years, Corrine has noted the resemblance between Olivia and Nettie, thinking that perhaps the children are biologically related to Nettie (of course they are, although Nettie is their biological aunt, and Celie their mother). But this goes to Corrine's longstanding feelings of jealousy and anxiety regarding Adam and Olivia's parentage. Corrine fears that Samuel has loved Nettie, and that the family's "coming together" and trip to Africa was, in some sense, a pretext for Samuel and Nettie to continue to be together.

But Corrine, in confiding this to Nettie finally, does free herself of some of the burden of her fear before she dies of an illness. Corrine has been warped by her jealousy - her goodness has changed to bitterness over the time the family has been in Africa. In this way, even though Nettie has found a more supportive and less violent family structure with Samuel and Corrine in Africa, her life is afflicted with many of the same jealousies and divisions as Celie's life in the American South. 

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Corrine Character Timeline in The Color Purple

The timeline below shows where the character Corrine appears in The Color Purple. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter 10
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...sees her child Olivia with another woman—the child's stepmother (later revealed to be the Reverend's wife, Corrine). Celie has not seen Olivia since shortly after the child was born. Celie believes... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
The Reverend is not yet present to pick up his wife and daughter, so Celie invites them into her husband's wagon, waiting outside the store. They... (full context)
Letter 11
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...Nettie must leave their house. Celie gives Nettie the name of the Reverend and his wife—the only people, Celie says, she has ever seen with money. Celie tells Nettie to find... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...Celie she will write to her when she reaches the house of the Reverend and Corrine. But, Celie says, in this letter to God, that Nettie never does write. (full context)
Letter 53
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie's next letter says that she has settled in with Samuel and Corrine (the Reverend and his wife). Nettie wonders whether Celie will read Nettie's letters and respond... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie repeats that Celie's two children, being raised as adopted children by Samuel and Corrine, are named Olivia and Adam. Nettie promises to take care of these children in Celie's... (full context)
Letter 55
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...Celie letters from a steamer ship; she is headed to Africa, with the Reverend and Corrine, as a missionary. But out of despair, Nettie destroys her letters, written on the boat,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie reports that she has taken the job as an assistant to Samuel and Corrine, and as a maid to Adam and Olivia, overseas in Africa. Nettie also reports that... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...as she could about the continent and its people. She also reports that Samuel and Corrine believe Olivia and Adam have been sent to them by God. Only Nettie knows that... (full context)
Letter 56
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie tells of their preparations before their trip for Africa: Corrine made traveling outfits, and Nettie, in church, realized that "Ethiopia," in the Bible, refers to... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...set sail. Nettie sees Harlem, the largest black community she has ever experienced, and Samuel, Corrine, and Adam and Olivia collect money for their missionary activities from preachers and members of... (full context)
Letter 61
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...reading. In the letter, Nettie describes how an African man named Joseph welcomed Nettie, Samuel, Corrine, and the two children at the port near the village where they would be serving... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...the mother of the two children, and they ask if Samuel is married both to Corrine and Nettie, as is possible in Olinka culture. Samuel and Corrine attempt to explain to... (full context)
Letter 62
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...till late at night, helping with every aspect of life there, and with Samuel and Corrine's missionary labors. Nettie enjoys the work, but finds it utterly exhausting. (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...learns a great deal in school, even teaching some to Tashi when they are playing. Corrine tells Nettie, later, that, to avoid confusion, Nettie should make clear to the villagers that... (full context)
Letter 64
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...to be educated, since they can only be educated in limited fashion among the Olinka. Corrine has grown even more distant from Nettie, asking that Nettie not visit Samuel's hut unless... (full context)
Letter 65
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...that much of the village will be destroyed. After a trip to the coast with Corrine and Samuel, Nettie also learns that the Olinkan land has been purchased by an English... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...English for their own land, and a water tax as well. Nettie is concerned, and Corrine has fallen ill with "African fever," but the Olinkans in general are so worried about... (full context)
Letter 66
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
When Nettie is tending to the ill Corrine one day, Corrine asks when exactly Nettie met Samuel. It is revealed that Corrine believes... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Corrine forces Nettie to swear on a Bible that Nettie met Samuel the day she met... (full context)
Letter 67
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...for all his children. Samuel therefore offered to take in Adam and Olivia. Samuel told Corrine, simply, that the children were God's gift to them. Samuel never explained to Corrine the... (full context)
Letter 70
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie, in another letter, tells how she and Samuel attempt to convince Corrine that Nettie is the children's biological aunt, and that Celie is their biological mother. But... (full context)
Letter 71
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie tries again to convince Corrine, attempting to remind Corrine of the time she and Olivia met Celie in the cloth... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Corrine suddenly announces that, on that day, she was afraid Celie was the real mother to... (full context)
Letter 72
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie describes Corrine's burial, which took place in the Olinka way. Nettie also says that Olivia has gotten... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Although Corrine was angry with Nettie for many years, fearing that she was the children's true mother,... (full context)
Letter 80
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...boat and back in London, where they are visiting, the story of how he met Corrine. Both Samuel and Corrine had aunts who had served as missionaries in the Belgian Congo.... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
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Samuel went to college (at an unnamed school) and so did Corrine, at Spelman Seminary, a school in Georgia created by white women in order to educate... (full context)