Cliff Notes™, Cliffs Notes™, Cliffnotes™, Cliffsnotes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company. TheBestNotes.com does not provide or claim to provide free Cliff Notes™ or free Sparknotes™. Free Cliffnotes™ and Free Spark Notes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company and Barnes & Noble, Inc., respectively. TheBestNotes.com has no relation.

TheBestNotes.com: Free Summary / Study Guide / Book Summaries / Literature Notes / Analysis / Synopsis
 
+Larger Font+
-Smaller Font-





Free Study Guide for The Color Purple by Alice Walker Free Book Summary

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version


CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES


CHAPTER 46


Summary

Albert stays home and drinks throughout Christmas with Grady. Shug and Celie pass the time talking. Shug says she met Grady when he helped fix her car. She also explains how she has been singing around the country, making a lot of money, and meeting famous people.

Celie tells Shug how sad Albert is about her marriage, but she does not mention her own grief. Shug says that she was not interested in Albert after seeing how cruelly he treated Celie. She inquires whether he has stopped hitting her. Celie says he has for the most part. Shug says if she were Celie's husband, "I'd cover you up with kisses stead of licks, and work hard for you too." Shug asks if they have better sex. Celie says they try, but it does not work for her.


Notes

While the men are involved in drinking, the women talk, mainly about sex. Celie says that Albert has stopped beating her. She admits, however, that she still does not enjoy sex with him, even though he is trying harder. Although she is not sexually satisfied, it is important that Celie can now discriminate between what is lovemaking and what is forced sex. It is important to note that there has been a positive change in both Celie and Albert, largely brought about by Shug's influence.


CHAPTER 47


Summary

After Grady and Albert take off in Shug's car, Shug asks Celie to sleep with her because she is cold and lonely without Grady at night. The two women talk. Shug asks Celie about the father of her children. Celie explains that it was her father, and she was only fourteen. He had asked her to cut his hair one day while her mother was out. Before the hair cut was complete, he raped her. He then made her finish cutting his hair while blood dripped down her stockings. Shug puts her arms around Celie, and Celie cries at the pain of remembering it all. Celie then tells Shug how her mother died, how Albert married her to care for his children, and how her sister left. She says no one has ever loved her. Shug tells Celie that she loves her and kisses her, surprising Celie. Celie kisses her back; then they kiss and fondle for a long time.



Notes

After Celie tells Shug of her sad past and grieves over the painful memories, Shug comforts her by putting her arms around her and then kissing her. Celie responds and they make love. Walker makes the lesbian sex seem comfortable and natural, especially in contrast to the brutal sex that Celie has endured. In fact, it is a healing process for Celie.


CHAPTER 48


Summary

Celie does not like Grady and recoils when she hears him call Shug "Mama." She also resents that he stares at Mary Agnes a lot of the time. Shug helps Mary Agnes with her singing and encourages her to perform at Harpo's. When Harpo disapproves of the suggestion, Shug reminds him how much money he can make if he dresses Mary Agnes up right. Shug says the men will be attracted to Mary Agnes' long hair and "yellow skin."


Notes

In this chapter, the bonds between the women in the novel are strengthened, empowering them further. Shug helps Mary Agnes improve her singing of the blues and encourages her to perform at Harpo's. Harpo at first resists Shug's suggestions, but she reminds him how much money he can make from his wife performing at the juke point. In contrast to the women, the men in the chapter are shown as ineffectual and almost infantile. Grady calls Shug "Mamma," revealing his pathetic dependency on her. In addition, Harpo shows that he is not sharp enough or wise enough to recognize Mary Agnes' talent and ability to make money for the juke joint.


CHAPTER 49


Summary

Celie finally receives a letter from Nettie, given to her by Shug. The letter explains how Albert has not allowed her correspondence to go through, but she has continued to write, hoping someday that Celie will get a letter and learn that she is alive and well. Nettie also tells Celie that Olivia and Adam, her two children adopted by the minister, are both doing well. Shug tells Celie that she walked out to the mailbox with Albert and saw him stuff an envelope with funny stamps into his inside coat pocket. She later took the letter, the one written by Nettie, from his coat pocket.

Shug asks Celie all about Nettie. There are so many questions to answer that Celie's voice starts to hurt. Finally she asks Shug why she wants to know so much about her sister. Shug tells her it is because "she the only one you ever love . . . sides me."


Notes

For the first time in the novel, the speaker changes. The letter in this chapter is written by Nettie to Celie. Celie prefaces the letter with a one-line note to God, telling Him she has amazingly been holding a letter from Nettie in her hand. After the letter, Celie gives a brief narrative to relate her conversation about her sister with Shug.

It is very significant that Celie has finally received one of Nettie's letters. She has assumed that her sister had forgotten her or was dead. Now she learns that her cruel husband has been keeping the letters from her. It is Shug that makes the discovery and recovers the letter to give to Celie. It is also Shug who understands that Celie has only really loved two people in her life - Nettie and herself.

The shift in the storytelling is also quite significant. With the discovery of her sister's steadfast love for her, Celie begins to speak openly, not hiding her thoughts in letters to a distant God.


Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version

The Color Purple Free BookNotes Summary Analysis

Privacy Policy
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
1725 Users Online | This page has been viewed 1455 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:11 AM

Cite this page:

TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Color Purple". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
             <>.