In a second letter, Celie describes how her mother dies "cussing and screaming." Celie is pregnant, and Celie's mother, as she is dying, wonders who the father is, and asks Celie. Celie replies that God is the father of the child. Celie's father mourns his wife's passing at her bedside.
Celie's mother is aware of Celie's pregnancy, but she thinks it more likely that Celie has gotten pregnant by some local boy. Celie's father, like Mr. ____ later in the novel, mourns his wife even as he has mistreated her.
Celie writes that Pa took her first-born child away from her (this child is later revealed to be a girl, and is named Olivia). Celie believes that her father took the baby girl out to the woods and killed her. She also believes that Pa will do the same to the male child (later named Adam) to whom Celie gives birth not long after Olivia's birth. Pa is the father of both these children.
Celie's separation from her children, Olivia and Adam, forms the first of the novel's major separations. The second cuts off Nettie, Celie's younger sister, from Celie. The arc of the novel is the eventual reconciliation of these separated people—although it takes a great many years to reassemble the family all in one place.