The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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The Color Purple Letter 79 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Celie sees Mr. ____ at Sofia's mother's funeral. Mr. ____ has "found religion," and appears to want to mend his previous wayward ways. Mr. ____ informs Celie that Henrietta has a disease (probably sickle-cell anemia) that causes her to get sick periodically, and that this sickness can only be treated with large amounts of yams, cooked into various kinds of dishes. Henrietta does not like the taste of yams, and so must be tricked into eating them, in order to treat her illness.
Mr. _____ finding religion may at first seem like a ploy of some sort to get Celie to return to him. But the way he talks about Henrietta, about the efforts needed to care for her, suggests that his focus really has shifted from what he can get for himself, which had always in the past been the only thing he cared about.
Themes
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Celie remembers that Nettie once mentioned "African sickness" to her in a letter, and that this sickness, sickle-cell anemia, is the same as the sickness Henrietta appears to suffer from.
Another link between Olinka culture and the difficulties of African American life.
Themes
God and Spirituality Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Suffering Theme Icon
Sofia tells Celie, later, about Mr. ____: how, after Celie left for Memphis, Mr. _____ seemed to lose all will to live. He and Harpo would lie around together in their house, doing very little, saddened by their wives' departures (as Squeak also ran off, with Grady, to Memphis). But Sofia eventually felt sorry for Harpo, and helped Harpo and Mr. ____ to get back on their feet, to eat right and begin working again. Now, Mr. ____ has become more ardently Christian, and is trying to live a better life.
It seems that Celie's departure really did affect Mr. ____; he seemed to recognize that he had finally pushed Celie away completely. For Harpo, this is the second time a wife of his has left him. Both men seem eventually to realize that their effort to exert control resulted in them having nothing. Faced with this realization, both seem to have become better men, particularly Mr. _____. Note also how it is only through the help of a woman, to support them, that they are able to do so. Sofia is willing to help, as long as they are not trying to force her to do as they say.
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