The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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The Color Purple Letter 63 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Celie reads another of Nettie's letters. Nettie is visited by Tashi's father and mother, who argue that they know the Western world is different from the Olinka village—that, elsewhere, women take on more responsibility and are more educated than in the village. But the Olinka do not approve of this behavior for Tashi and for other women. Tashi's parents ask Nettie to stop trying to educate Tashi.
Here, the Olinka actively attempt to disrupt Nettie's efforts in educating the young women of the tribe. This, again, is very similar to Mr. ____'s efforts at disrupting Celie's education at the very beginning of the novel. The Olinka see the education as actually harmful, as teaching things that will make her less interested in fulfilling the specific role they expect women to play in their society.
Themes
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
They explain that Tashi has become upset, since she knows that she is learning, from Olivia, things about the world she 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, and some will die during the rainy season. Some missionaries, he continues, always pass away each year—they do not matter much to the villagers, who consider them something akin to tourists.
Tashi's father speaks quite plainly to Nettie, saying that, most important for the Olinka are the ties of marriage and of family. Because Nettie does not have a family, and is not tied to the Olinka culture, she cannot truly be a part of that culture. But Tashi was born to the Olinka, and she must carry out the traditions demanded of her by the village's elders. Further, his words reveal the Olinka's true feelings about the missionaries—that they are annoyances that will pass as they succumb to the diseases of Africa.
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
Nettie comments in the letter that the way the men treat women in the village reminds her of their father, and the way they were expected not to look into a man's eyes when they were being spoken to or told what to do. Nettie is upset that male-female relations in the village are so similar to the abusive relations she and Celie experienced in Georgia.
Nettie emphasizes, to Celie, that the Olinka men behave very similarly to the men back home. Nettie wonders whether this sort of behavior doesn't come naturally to certain kinds of men—it is an urge simply to dominate women.
Themes
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon