Free Study Guide for The Color Purple by Alice Walker Free Book Summary|
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The second letter reinforces the sense of Celie's own powerlessness, as well as her mother's powerlessness to help her. On her deathbed, Celie's mother makes a weak attempt to find out who is responsible for Celie's pregnancy. She probably suspects incest, but since she feels helpless to change the situation, she does not ask her daughter many questions. Celie refuses to tell her mother who fathered her child - out of fear of her father's revenge and wanting to spare her mother from the truth. Since Celie does not know any males she can blame for the pregnancy other than Fonso, she tells her mother that her child belonged to God.
The chapter also reveals that Celie has been robbed not only of her bodily integrity, but also of the child she bore. She does not know what has happened to her baby; she only knows that Fonso took it away. Suspecting that the infant is dead, she tells her mother that God took the baby away and killed it in the woods. Once again Celie is covering up the truth of her father's brutality.
It is obvious that Celie has changed since the first letter. She is no longer a girl; instead, she has been forced into premature adulthood, carrying and delivering her father's child at the age of fourteen. Now, at fifteen, she is pregnant again. It is no wonder that Celie has a sense of hopelessness, especially since she has no one to turn to except God. Obviously, she does have religious faith, but she even questions if God can help her out of her desperate situation.
In this letter to God, Celie writes that Fonso is beginning to regard her as if she were evil, accusing her of doing bad things. In reality, it is Fonso that is totally evil. Celie has just delivered her second child, a boy. Fonso immediately stole the infant and sold him. As a result, Celie is miserable; her breasts are swollen and dripping milk. Fonso displays disgust towards her about the milk and tells her to dress more decently; unfortunately, the girl has nothing else to wear. She tells God that she hopes Fonso will soon find a woman to marry him, for he is beginning to show interest in Nettie, her little sister. She has promised Nettie that she will protect her.
In this letter, the reader discovers that possibly both children have been stolen from Celie and sold. Instead of being appalled, Celie feels relieved, even though the selling of children alludes to the horrible historical period of black slavery. For Celie, it is a blessing that the children are alive, and she has genuine hope that they may have a chance for a better life, breaking the horrible cycle of abuse.
It is obvious that Celie has no control over her life or her body. Raped repeatedly by her father, she feels helpless to break the cycle. Her lack of control over her fate is also vividly symbolized in her swollen breasts. The emotional pain of her child being stolen from her is physically echoed in her painful breasts. She is made to feel even more miserable when Fonso screams at her about her disgusting appearance.
Celie's promise to protect Nettie from Fonso's abuse is the first sign of her taking a stance to prevent the horrors which are occurring in her patriarchal existence. Although she totally devalues her herself, Celie finds her sister very valuable, worth protecting. Her selflessness and lack of bitterness are evident here.
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. 09 May 2017