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Free Study Guide-The Color Purple by Alice Walker-Free Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER NOTES AND ANALYSIS

CHAPTER 79

Summary

Celie watches Albert walk up to the coffin. His hair is smoothed down, and his skin is clean. Sofia tells her that he now has a job and does housework; Celie can hardly believe her ears. Sofia tells Celie that after she left, Albert at first acted crazy, locking himself up in his house and not bathing or eating; eventually, Harpo forced his way into the house and took care of him. He also made Albert send all of Nettie's letters to Celie because "meanness kill."

Notes

Albert has risen above Celie's curse and improved in several ways. He now has a job, stays clean, and does housework. Harpo is also painted in a favorable light. When Albert was at first miserable after Celie's departure, he forced his way into the house and took care of his father, even sleeping beside him in order to watch over him. Such intimacy between men, even if they are father and son, is very rare in the patriarchal society.

CHAPTER 80

Summary

Nettie responds to Celie's letters. She and Samuel have married and sailed to England to file a grievance on behalf of the Olinkas. She writes how they dined each evening on the ship with the famous woman missionary they had heard about before going to Africa. She was an older English woman accompanied by her African grandson. She told stories about her disinterest in saving the souls of Africans. She only became a missionary to avoid compulsory marriage back home. She wanted to write and that is what she has been doing all these years in Africa. She has many successful books out in America and England.


Samuel and Nettie have a hard time dealing with the Africans' rejection of them. They have no interest in the Bible; instead, they quiz Samuel about the African Americans. They wonder why they have not maintained their native language and why they are not happy in America with so many automobiles. Now that their Olinkan God, the roofleaf, has been destroyed, they turn to God for help; when help does not come, the Olinkas decide to return to the jungle to live with the Mbeles people.

Nettie tells Celie about Corrine and Samuel's aunts who influenced their decision to become missionaries. One aunt in particular liked to tell wild stories from her days abroad. One of the stories included a special medal she was awarded for her work in Africa. Once, upon hearing her tell this story, a particular guest became highly agitated and told her she should be ashamed of the medal. He explained how it tags her as an accomplice to the terrible crimes committed against the African peoples by colonists.

Nettie writes that she truly loves Samuel and says that she, Samuel, Olivia, and Adam are a true family now. The children are fine, but they miss Africa, especially their friend Tashi. Nettie also explains that she has told the children the truth about Celie.

Notes

Nettie and Samuel are now happily married and have become a true family with Olivia and Adam. Nettie has even told the children about Celie and their background.

Nettie and Samuel are disappointed about not being accepted by the Africans. They are especially torn since they are of African descent yet do not belong there. They cannot believe that the Africans refuse to take any of the responsibility for the crime of slavery in America. The Africans, however, cannot understand how the Blacks in the United States can be so unhappy in a land of plenty filled with automobiles. Nettie and Samuel are dealing with a wide chasm that exists between two Black cultures.

The Olinkas totally reject Samuel's God. They view Him as lacking power, since He did not save the roofleaf for them. Olinkas will only honor a god who will keep bad things from happening to them. In spite of the fact that the Olinkas reject the teachings of Samuel and Nettie, the two of them, along with Olivia and Adam, travel to England to fight for the Olinkas.

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