Free Study Guide for The Color Purple by Alice Walker Free Book Summary|
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After church, Albert leaves in the wagon. Five days later he returns with Shug in the back, protected by a canopy. When Celie realizes who is in the wagon, she worries about her appearance because she has been working all day. When Harpo asks his father who is in the wagon, he tells his son that she is the woman who should have been his mammy. The two men then help Shug get out. Celie feels her heart beat faster as she watches. She notices that Shug has make-up caked on her face and is dressed in an outfit that she probably wore while singing, one which Celie considers very stylish. Celie wants to open her arms to Shug and invite her inside the house, but she knows it is not her house. Albert then orders Celie to prepare the spare room for their guest. When Shug looks up at Celie, she exclaims that Albert's wife "sure is ugly."
For the first time in the book, Shug appears before Celie in person, and she cannot believe her eyes. She has been preparing to meet this blues singer ever since she was twenty years old. Idolizing Shug, Celie believes her to have everything that she herself is missing: glamour, beauty, style, and independence. It is ironic that Celie still holds the woman in such awe, for Albert has brought her to the farm because she is sick and alone. No one else would volunteer to care for her. Celie genuinely wants to care for Shug in her illness and unselfishly nurse her back to health. Unfortunately, Shug is not kind like Celie; she cruelly calls her ugly, reinforcing what Celie already thinks about herself.
Celie writes that Shug Avery is sicker and meaner than Celie's mother when she died. Surprisingly, Albert is nicer than normal. He tells Celie that she should say if she minds having Shug at the farm. She quickly says she wants Shug to stay; her answer comes so rapidly that Albert fears Celie might be thinking of harming Shug. He obviously does not know his wife at all.
Albert often sits in the room with Shug, but she does not allow him to hold her hand. She accuses him of being a boy who cannot say no to his father. He defends her, and his eyes water when he remarks that no one stands up for Shug. He obviously has much deeper feelings for this woman than he does for his wife.
For the first time in the book, Albert is seen as something other than an oppressive figure. Far from the domineering husband and father he has been, he turns into a doting lover around Shug. He even shows some concern for Celie, asking her if she minds having the woman around. When Celie gives a positive answer so quickly, Albert, not knowing his wife, misreads the response.
Noticing Albert's kindness, Celie sees her husband in a new light. He does not seem such a powerful figure, especially when she notices his weak chin and his dirty clothes. It is another step in Celie's maturing process.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Color Purple".
. 09 May 2017