The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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Celie's more attractive younger sister. Forced to leave first her own home when Pa turns his sexual attention to her and then Mr. _____'s house after he makes sexual advances toward her, Nettie ends up helping out in the household of Reverend Samuel and his wife Corrine. The three of them, and the couple's adopted children Adam and Olivia (who are Celie's biological children), travel to Africa to serve as missionaries to the Olinka people. There, Nettie becomes educated and gains a new spiritual understanding of the world that mirrors Celie's own, and later marries Samuel after Corrine dies of disease. Nettie is later reunited with her sister, and she, as step-mother to Adam and Olivia, introduces the children to their biological mother at the novel's end.

Nettie Quotes in The Color Purple

The The Color Purple quotes below are all either spoken by Nettie or refer to Nettie. 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 3 Quotes

I keep hoping he fine somebody to marry. I see him looking at my little sister. She scared. But I say I'll take care of you. With God help.

Related Characters: Celie (speaker), Nettie, Pa (Alphonso)
Related Symbols: God
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Celie recognizes that her father is capable of dangerous acts of sexual violence against herself and her sister Nettie. Celie's first thought, then, is to protect her sister from this. One way to protect Nettie would be for their father to marry. Although that would be dangerous for the wife-to-be, as their father is a violent man, at least it would spare his children his anger and lust, for a time.

Celie refers to God again in this passage, arguing that, without him, there is no protection against her father and his designs on the family. Celie's faith is reinforced by the difficulty of her circumstances. There is no one in the immediate family to help her, to protect her and her sister from her father's wrath. There is only the prospect of divine salvation, of God's help. Without that, there can be no removal from the impoverished, dangerous circumstances in which the girls find themselves - that is, until the girls grow up and begin seeking out other helpers in the town around them. 

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Letter 9 Quotes

I lay there thinking bout Nettie while he [Mr. _____] on top of me, wonder if she safe. And then I think bout Shug Avery. I know what he doing to me he done to Shug Avery and maybe she like it. I put my arm around him.

Related Characters: Celie (speaker), Nettie, Mr. _____ (Albert), Shug Avery
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Celie's sexual relationship with Mr. ____ is here described. She allows Mr. ____ to make love to her, although Celie herself allows her mind to wander elsewhere. It is telling that Celie's first concern is for Nettie and her safety. Celie's thought is of Shug Avery, whom Celie doesn't yet know, but with whom Celie is fascinated.

Celie does not, at this stage of the novel, fully understand what her interest in Shug might be, but she already has decided to act like she imagines Shug to act - to pretend to enjoy sex because she assumes Shug enjoys it. Celie does not yet know that Shug has a "bad reputation" around the town - that Shug has been in relationships with several men other than Mr. ____.

Letter 53 Quotes

But God, I miss you, Celie. I think about the time you laid yourself down for me. I love you with all my heart.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker), Celie
Related Symbols: God
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

Nettie's letters back to Celie - the existence of which Celie does not know about at the time the letters are written - document the "other side" of the narrative. Nettie has escaped the harsh conditions of the rural South, where Celie continues to live. She raises Adam and Olivia, Celie's biological children, as her own adopted children. And Nettie finds, in the care of the Reverend Samuel and his wife Corrine, a kind of sustained, nurturing family environment that was not available to her in her family home.

Celie's journal, then, is braided into the narrative with Nettie's unanswered letters back to Celie. The fact that Celie does not read them, nor know about them and respond to them, does not deter Nettie from continuing to write. In this way, both Nettie and Celie develop the "story" of The Color Purple, even though they have no evidence that anyone will be able to read it. This determination to bear witness to the events of their lives is one of the most profound and affecting morals of the novel. 

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. 

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 64 Quotes

Today one of the boys in my afternoon class burst out, as he entered, The road approaches! The road approaches! He had been hunting in the forest with his father and seen it. Every day now the villagers gather at the edge of the village near the cassava fields, and watch the building of the road.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Nettie teaches school among the Olinka, and part of her job, as Samuel has laid it out, is to "Christianize" the members of that community - to disabuse them of some of their local traditions regarding religion, but without utterly changing the culture they are, in fact, visiting. Nettie, then, is struck by the English intrusion into the Olinka community and by the presence of the road builders. For the road is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, the road can make the Olinka far more connected to other communities - it can link them, for example, to places for trade, and could improve the economic health of the tribe. But these ideas are vastly outweighed, for the Olinka and for Samuel, Corrine, and Nettie, by the possibility of destruction that the road represents. For the road will cut through the community in severe ways, and the road builders do not seem to mind it what direction it goes, or what they must destroy in order to construct it. Furthermore, most of the "interconnectedness" the road will bring is likely to just mean more white colonizers, and therefore more oppression and exploitation of the Olinka.

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. 

Letter 72 Quotes

Now the engineers have come to inspect the territory. Two white men came yesterday and spent a couple of hours strolling about the village, mainly looking at the wells. Such is the innate politeness of the Olinka that they rushed about preparing food for them . . . And the white men sat eating as if the food was beneath notice.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker)
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section Nettie teases out what it means to connect, aid, or reconstruct a culture, versus what it might mean to "modernize" and therefore destroy it. The English engineers argue that the road will improve the connection between the Olinka and Western economic structures - just as a road in the American South might help the business relationships between two towns. But Nettie wonders whether this new arrangement among the Olinka would be actually good for the community - or whether it would only benefit the English who are coming in and who eye the land greedily.

Nettie thinks, too, on the nature of change in this section. The Olinka, of course, cannot stay exactly the same - the community has evolved and changed over time. But it has changed of its own accord, and on its own timeline - it hasn't needed Western involvement for that to happen. In this way, Western involvement seems more like intrusion and less like development. 

Letter 80 Quotes

You may have guessed that I loved him all along; but I did not know it. oh, I loved him as a brother . . . but Celie, I love him bodily, as a man! I love his walk, his size, his shape, his smell, the kinkiness of his hair.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker), Samuel
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:

Nettie confides in Celie here, telling her that, after years, she finds herself married to Samuel, and that she has fallen in love with him. Corrine, of course, feared for a long time that this might happen, and Nettie betrays a small amount of guilt for confirming, even if only after Corrine's death, the fear that she long harbored.

But Nettie is happy and has found a way to cement her familial relationship with Adam and Olivia, and to care for the man she loves. As Nettie describes it, this is a love that is affirming both for her and for Samuel - they feel comfortable doing things together, and take a great deal of satisfaction merely from being in one another's presence. Meanwhile, Celie has similarly recognized over the course of the novel that her lifelong love has been Shug, and that this relationship with her has allowed her further to grow and recognize her own abilities. 

Letter 87 Quotes

But guess what else . . . When the missionaries got to the part bout Adam and Eve being naked, the Olinka peoples nearly bust out laughing . . . They tried to explain . . . that it was they who put Adam and Eve out of the village because they was naked. Their word for naked is white. But since they are covered by color they are not naked.

Related Characters: Nettie (speaker)
Related Symbols: God
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the most important racial passages in the novel. Celie notes (paraphrasing a letter from Nettie) that the Olinka word for naked is "white," meaning "having no color." For the Olinka, being naked is being without color - and because the Olinkans happen to have dark skin, for them "whiteness" has nothing to do with skin color at all. This is a way for Celie to understand both that the Olinkans are proud of their heritage, traditions, and skin, and that they do not consider their "blackness" to be any kind of categorical or immutable category. Olinkans can be white or black, naked or clothed.

The white Englishmen who come into the village, however, have a much different conception of race - for them, the Olinkans are nearly naked and are black - the Olinkans, for them, simply cannot be white. This means that the European conception of race, compared to the Olinkan, is vastly cruder and less informed. The Olinkans have within their culture a well-developed concept of subtle difference, whereas the English see, literally, only in black and white terms. 

Letter 90 Quotes

And I see they [the children] think that me and Nettie and Shug and Albert and Samuel and Harpo and Sofia and Jack and Odessa real old . . . But I don't think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.

Related Characters: Celie (speaker), Nettie, Mr. _____ (Albert), Shug Avery, Sofia, Harpo, Samuel, Adam, Olivia, Tashi, Jack and Odessa
Related Symbols: God
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the marvelous closing passage to the novel. After all that has happened to Celie and to Nettie - after all the miles Nettie has traveled, after all that Celie has been through in remaining in the South - time feels, in this passage, not to have passed at all. It is as though time itself was brought to a halt, or a new kind of time is here introduced. Celie and Nettie, reunited, can now make physical the bond that has united them in letters for years. And this bond is made even stronger by the presence of family, both biological and affiliative, that Celie and Nettie have assembled over the many intervening years. Despite their hardships, Celie and Nettie recognize that their stories are stories of family togetherness, of bonds made and sustained despite the incredible difficulty of their circumstances. The Color Purple thus ends triumphantly, as a celebration of the power of love in the face of violence and hatred.

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Nettie Character Timeline in The Color Purple

The timeline below shows where the character Nettie appears in The Color Purple. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter 3
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
...Monticello. Celie worries that her father will soon have sexual designs on her younger sister, Nettie. Celie vows to protect her sister from harm, "with God's help." (full context)
Letter 4
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
...town of Gray, and brings her back to the house to live with Celie and Nettie. Nettie begins dating an older man, a widower referred to only as Mr. ____, but... (full context)
Letter 5
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Celie worries that her father will begin sexually abusing Nettie, so she changes her mind and tells Nettie to wed Mr. ____ Celie reveals to... (full context)
Letter 6
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Mr. ____ asks for Nettie's hand in marriage, but Celie's father refuses, saying that Mr. ____ is surrounded by scandal,... (full context)
Letter 7
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...sick and must stay in bed. Celie tells her father to sleep with her, not Nettie, while their stepmother is ill. Celie dresses up for the occasion to entice her father;... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Mr. ____ comes again to ask for Nettie's hand in marriage. Celie's father says no, again, but tells him he can marry Celie,... (full context)
Letter 8
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
...the spring to decide whether or not to marry Celie. In the meantime, Celie and Nettie study together, although only Nettie is still in school. They read in particular about Christopher... (full context)
Letter 11
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Nettie runs away from her childhood home because she is afraid of Pa's sexual advances, although... (full context)
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Celie reports that Mr. ____ still "has eyes" for Nettie. Nettie continues studying for school while in their home, and Celie attempts to control Mr.... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Mr. ____ continues to make advances to Nettie, and strongly implies that he wishes to have sex with her. Nettie refuses Mr. ____,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie is happy to leave Mr. ____ and his "rotten" children, but feels guilty to leave... (full context)
Letter 47
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
...during the conversation with Shug. Celie then talks briefly, about her mother's death, her sister Nettie's departure, and her terrible time raising Mr. ____'s children—all of whom, except for Harpo, hate... (full context)
Letter 49
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
This letter includes the full text of another letter Celie has received—from Nettie. The letter from Nettie says that she, Nettie, is safe and happy, and so are... (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
..."funny stamps" and putting them away, not showing them to Celie. Shug asks Celie about Nettie—if she was smart and what she looked like—because Shug knows that Nettie is the only... (full context)
Letter 50
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
...trouble believing that Mr. ____ could be so cruel as to keep the letters from Nettie without sharing them with Celie, but Shug assures Celie that Mr. ____ can be "that... (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
...crisis without Mr. ____'s noticing. Celie is still extremely upset with Mr. ____ for keeping Nettie's letters, though she has not had a chance to find them yet. (full context)
Letter 51
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Shug and Celie realize that Mr. ____ keeps the letters from Nettie in a trunk in his bedroom. Shug and Celie plan to slip the letters out... (full context)
Letter 52
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie's first letter describes the immediate aftermath of her departure from Celie's and Mr. ____'s house,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie fled into the town and stopped at the Reverend's house, where Celie had told her... (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... (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... (full context)
Letter 54
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 shows Nettie's increased anxiety that Albert is following through on his promise—that he... (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
The next letter from Nettie arrives two months letter. Nettie has been writing Celie letters from a steamer ship; she... (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... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie says that, after she learned she would be going to Africa as a missionary, she... (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,... (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 on their train-trip from Georgia to New York City, from which they set sail.... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie tells of her brief, two-week training in New York in the Olinka dialect—the Olinka are... (full context)
Letter 57
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie and the Reverend's family next sail from New York to England, where they meet with... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie also learns that some of her brethren in Africa sold her ancestors to white slave-traders,... (full context)
Letter 58
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
In her next letter, Nettie tells of their arrival in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which is filled with white... (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
Their next stop is Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. There, Nettie and the Reverend's family meet the President of Liberia (named Tubman) and a large part... (full context)
Letter 59
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
After finishing reading these letters from Nettie—and puzzling over the words in them she does not understand—Celie tells Shug that she again... (full context)
Letter 61
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Celie begins to feel proud that Nettie and her children are still alive—she "struts" around her home with the news. Celie wonders,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Celie opens another letter from Nettie; Celie and Shug have stolen all the trunk's letters, hiding them in their own room,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie is surprised by the size of the Olinka—they are very tall and broad-shouldered—and by the... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie discusses the village's welcoming ceremony, in which the story of roofleaf, or the village's most... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...life and of earth's abundance: therefore, he goes on, does it not resemble a God? Nettie finds this ceremony, and her entrance into the village, to be a thing of wonder. (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
Celie reads another of Nettie's letters. Nettie has been working hard in the village, from early in the morning till... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...only job will be to act as a good wife to a man one day. Nettie disputes this, and says she herself is not married. Catherine counters that, for this reason,... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
...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 she is... (full context)
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie then describes her small hut, and says that she wishes she had a picture of... (full context)
Letter 63
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Celie reads another of Nettie's letters. Nettie is visited by Tashi's father and mother, who argue that they know the... (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
...will never be able to put into practice, as an Olinka woman. Tashi's father tells Nettie that they do not need to listen to the missionaries—there are only five of them,... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie comments in the letter that the way the men treat women in the village reminds... (full context)
Letter 64
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie reveals, in her next letter, that she has lived with the Olinka for five years.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie feels extremely close to Olivia and Adam, but wonders whether, at this point, they should... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Nettie relates how Olinkan women are friends to one another, in a way she finds mostly... (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
The previous letter (64) from Nettie was written during the Christmas holiday, and the current letter dates from Easter. Nettie has... (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
...pay rent to the 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... (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
Nettie therefore waits for new developments. In the meantime, Olivia and Tashi continue going to school... (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.... (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 Corrine. Corrine... (full context)
Letter 67
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
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It turns out that Samuel also assumed the children were Nettie's biologically—this is why he was so eager to have Nettie join the family on their... (full context)
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...three black men and burned down the store. The owner they killed was Celie's and Nettie's biological father. (full context)
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Upon learning of her husband's death, Celie's and Nettie's mother then began a long slide into mental illness. A new man began courting Celie's... (full context)
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...and pretended that the children Olivia and Adam were children he had by Celie's and Nettie's mother's, and not by Celie. Pa lied to Samuel, saying that the family was now... (full context)
Letter 69
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...she wants to see Pa, to ask about the information she has just learned from Nettie. Celie has only seen Pa once since leaving home, and only briefly and from far... (full context)
Letter 70
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Nettie, in another letter, tells how she and Samuel attempt to convince Corrine that Nettie is... (full context)
Letter 71
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Nettie tries again to convince Corrine, attempting to remind Corrine of the time she and Olivia... (full context)
Letter 72
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Nettie describes Corrine's burial, which took place in the Olinka way. Nettie also says that Olivia... (full context)
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Nettie ends the letter to Celie hoping that the Olinka can somehow preserve their land in... (full context)
Letter 73
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Celie tells Shug that she no longer writes to God—she writes to Nettie. This letter is addressed to Nettie. Celie says that God would never listen to a... (full context)
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...to her, created by white people. Celie thinks this make sense, in light of what Nettie once told her: that Jesus had hair "like lamb's wool." (full context)
Letter 74
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...she talks back to Mr. ____, and says he's a terrible scoundrel who has kept Nettie's letters from her. She says she's had enough of caring for his "rotten" children and... (full context)
Letter 79
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Celie remembers that Nettie once mentioned "African sickness" to her in a letter, and that this sickness, sickle-cell anemia,... (full context)
Letter 80
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Celie reads another of Nettie's letters. Nettie reports that she has married Samuel, and she begins to explain how this... (full context)
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...unbearable for the Olinkans—they even had to buy their own water from the British—that Samuel, Nettie, and the two children sailed back to England, to figure out what they could do... (full context)
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Nettie and Samuel meet a white woman on the boat back to England named Doris, who... (full context)
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Samuel begins telling Nettie, on the boat and back in London, where they are visiting, the story of how... (full context)
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...good. He recounts how the natives, even after those twenty years, look at him and Nettie with indifference, feeling that they, the African Americans, are not "real Africans." Samuel is reminded... (full context)
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Nettie and Samuel, after this discussion of Samuel's life, soon fall to confessing love for one... (full context)
Letter 81
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On their return to Africa, Nettie, Samuel, and the two children search for Tashi, who is hiding in the village. It... (full context)
Letter 83
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Celie writes again to Nettie, saying that Shug has run off with someone else—a very young man named Germaine. Celie... (full context)
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Celie tells Nettie how Shug described Germaine to her, and asked Celie to understand that her fling with... (full context)
Letter 85
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Celie writes to Nettie, saying that she has received a note from the Department of Defense that Nettie's ship,... (full context)
Letter 86
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Nettie writes to Celie, saying that Tashi and her mother have gone into the woods to... (full context)
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Nettie and Samuel worry what is to become of the Olinkans, but they try to find... (full context)
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Nettie ends the letter by saying that Adam has also disappeared, and she and Samuel believe... (full context)
Letter 87
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Celie writes to Nettie, still believing that Nettie is alive, despite hearing no news from her. (The previous letter... (full context)
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Mr. ____ tries to talk to Celie, apologizing for keeping Nettie's letters from her. But Celie feels that she does not hate Mr. ____ (whom she... (full context)
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...on the porch making pants together. Celie tells an African myth that she heard from Nettie (in a letter not included in the novel), in which white people are considered the... (full context)
Letter 88
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Nettie writes to Celie, saying that Adam and Tashi have returned from the mbeles, where they... (full context)
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Samuel and Nettie decide to go back to America, however, because the Olinkan village has shrunk drastically, and... (full context)
Letter 90
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...They do not know who it could be, and Celie cannot believe her eyes: it's Nettie, Samuel, Adam, Tashi, and Olivia. Celie and Nettie are so shocked, upon being reunited, that... (full context)