Free Study Guide for The Color Purple by Alice Walker Free Book Summary|
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The letter also shows the complete change in Albert. He is trying to help Celie, designing shirts and sewing for her, treating her with respect; he also philosophizes about life's wonders, saying he has learned to love the little things. This is the lesson that Shug taught Celie years earlier when she said God wanted people to recognize the beauty of creation like the color purple. Because Albert has learned to love others, he also feels loved.
Sofia's life has also changed. She is now working as a clerk in Celie's store with Harpo's blessing. He has obviously changed, graciously allowing her to escape the normal patriarchal role of mother and housekeeper. She has also accepted Eleanor Jane and has ironically hired her to help care for Henrietta. The white townsfolk, however, have not changed at all. They feel it is outrageous that a white woman should do work for blacks.
It is significant to note that this letter, one of the most complex in the novel, is written to Nettie. Even though she has been told that her sister is dead, the faithful Celie refuses to believe it and continues to write her letters. It is also important to note that the kind and sensitive Celie has remembered to paint Shug's room purple.
Celie addresses this joyous letter to everyone: "Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear Everything." It is clear that this final entry will be a celebration of life.
Celie, Shug, and Albert are sitting on the porch one evening when a car comes down the road. They all wonder who it could be, and think it may be Sofia since the car is going fast. The car stops at the end of the road, and some people dressed in old people's clothes emerge. There is a tall, white-haired man with a backward turned collar, a short woman with her hair braided across her head, a tall young man, and two young women; they are all carrying luggage. As they begin to walk towards the house, Albert announces that it is Nettie. Celie feels so scared that she does not know what to do. She cannot utter a word and almost falls when she tries to get up.
When Nettie steps onto the porch, Celie feels like she will die. She sways between Albert and Shug, while Nettie sways between Samuel and Adam. They moan and grab one another, falling down together, hugging and calling each other's names. After a while, Nettie introduces her to Samuel, Olivia, Adam, and Tashi. Celie introduces Albert and Shug. Everyone hugs.
On the Fourth of July, there is a big reunion celebration, and all the family is invited. When Henrietta asks why they had to have their family reunion on such a hot day, Harpo tells her it was a day the white folks celebrated independence from England; they let the slaves off work to celebrate as well. Mary Agnes wonders where Harpo has learned his history. She is present at the reunion, for she has come to Georgia to pick up Suzie Q. She has left Grady and moved back to Memphis to live with her sister and her mother. She has many new songs and feels good enough to sing them now that she no longer smokes marijuana.
Everyone admires Tashi and thinks she is beautiful. They ask her questions about Africa. When they question what Africans eat, Tashi smiles and says barbecue; everyone laughs. Celie fully enjoys the reunion even though she feels a little strained around her grown children. She suspects they think she and the other adults are too old, but Celie disagrees and says we "the youngest us ever felt." She has been totally rejuvenated by the arrival of Shug and then her family. She ends the letter saying, "Amen."
In the last letter, Celie addresses the world, all of creation, and the creator, with whom she has finally made her reconciliation; she ends it with an "amen" as if it were a prayer of thanksgiving. The novel ends with the joyous homecoming of Nettie and her children, followed by a family reunion. The theme of reconciliation and regeneration is now complete. Celie is fully reconciled with herself and her life; she also feels regenerated now that she is self-sufficient and surrounded by the love of her family and Shug. It is truly a happy ending to a book that is filled with challenges and sadness.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Color Purple".
. 09 May 2017