The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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The Color Purple Letter 47 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
One day Mr. ____ and Grady go off together, and Celie and Shug talk again. Shug asks Celie about the father of Celie's children. Celie answers by telling the story of her rape, at the hands of Pa, in more detail. One night, when Celie was fourteen, her father said he wanted Celie to cut his hair. He went into her room, and after she began to cut, he held her down and raped her. When he had finished, Pa asked Celie to complete his hair cut.
The story of Celie's rape is even more horrible than could be imagined at the beginning of the novel. Pa takes advantage of one of Celie's talents—her ability to cut hair—and uses it for his own dastardly ends. Although Celie has kept this story to herself for many years, she feels, finally, comfortable enough with Shug to share it. She is ceasing to talk just to God (as she was in her letters) and now is talking to other people.
Themes
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
At the end of the story, Celie begins to cry—the enormity of these feelings, about which she rarely speaks, having come back to her 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 Celie and refuse to obey her. When she stops talking, Shug kisses Celie on the mouth and tells her she loves her. It is strongly implied that Shug and Celie then make love.
Shug has shown that she realizes just how difficult Celie's life has been, and Shug does want to care for Celie. But at this point in the novel, Shug also desires Celie, sexually, and this desire fuels their relationship and friendship, at least in part. Celie is disappointed, later on, when Shug runs off with another man, a person who can provide her with a newer and more exciting sexual experience.
Themes
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