Free Study Guide for The Color Purple by Alice Walker Free Book Summary|
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Celie compliments the woman's choice of fabric and helps her hold it up to her face for a better look. The woman smiles, saying she is going to make her and the little girl some new dresses; she knows that will please the child's father. Celie immediately asks who the father is, believing that she will hear her father named; instead the woman says that a reverend is the little girl's father, a fact that confuses Celie.
Before the women leave the store, the white clerk treats them disrespectfully, for he is impatient with their chatter. When the woman finally purchases the fabric and goes outside, Celie follows. The woman is upset that the reverend is not waiting for her and the child. Celie tells them that they can sit in her husband's wagon and wait for the reverend. As they sit together watching all the people in town passing by, the woman asks who Celie's husband is. When she points to Albert, the woman tells Celie that he is a good-looking man. Celie agrees for conversation's sake even though she really thinks that most men just look alike.
Celie asks the woman how long she has had the little girl. The woman answers by saying the little girl is almost seven years old. When Celie asks the child's name, the woman says it is Pauline. Celie feels sad that it is probably not her little girl after all. Then, the woman explains that she personally calls her daughter Olivia. Celie asks her why, and the woman says that the little girl just looks like an Olivia. The reverend then arrives and takes the woman and Olivia.
This chapter reveals that Celie does possess a small measure of courage. When she spies a child she thinks may be her daughter, she follows her into a store and makes a connection with the girl's mother. She even invites them to sit in her wagon while they wait for their ride. Celie's intuitiveness is also depicted. She notices how much the child looks like her and her father and decides to find out if the girl's name is Olivia. When she learns the child is called Olivia by her mother, Celie's intuition is satisfied.
The poignancy of the scene is heart-rending. Although Celie definitely thinks it is her child, she is powerless to speak the truth to the wife of the reverend. She does not have enough self-confidence to reveal that she is probably the child's mother, for her baby was stolen from her. Powerlessness is also revealed in the scene in the store where the white clerk treats the women with open hostility, probably because of their race and their gender. The chapter, however, ends on a lighter note. The two mothers, one biological and the other adoptive, seem to bond, enjoying each other's company; they laugh together over a silly joke.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Color Purple".
. 09 May 2017