Search Menu

Contents

Nettie

Nettie

Though younger than her sister, Nettie often acts as Celie’s protector. Nettie is highly intellectual and from an early age recognizes the value of education. However, even though Nettie is smart and ambitious, Mr. ______ effectively silences her by secretly hiding her letters from Celie. In her letters to Celie, Nettie writes that she is lonely, showing that like Celie, Nettie needs a sympathetic audience to listen to her thoughts and concerns.

Critics have faulted Nettie’s letters for being digressive and boring in comparison to Celie’s. Although Nettie’s letters are indeed quite encyclopedic and contain less raw experience and emotion, they play an important role in the novel. As a black intellectual traveling the world in pursuit of “the uplift of black people everywhere,” Nettie has a vastly different experience from Celie. Yet her letters, which recount the problems Nettie encounters in Africa, broaden the novel’s scope and show that oppression—of women by men, of blacks by whites, and even of blacks by blacks—is universal. The imperial, racial, and cultural conflict and oppression Nettie encounters in Africa parallel the smaller-scale abuses and hardships that Celie experiences in Georgia.

Test Your Understanding with the Nettie Quiz

TAKE THE QUIZ
+
#

NETTIE QUIZ

As a young girl, Celie writes to whom as an outlet and means of self-expression?
Nettie
Shug Avery
Test Your Understanding with the Nettie Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

Nettie QUIZ

+
Test Your Understanding with the Nettie Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

More Help

Previous Next
Celie's Abuse

by sprinze, April 16, 2014

I think it's important to specify that her abuse was psychological, emotional, physical, and sexual. Rape is one of the most traumatic crimes committed and I'm certain it contributed to her sense of powerlessness and low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness and her revulsion towards sex. Both her husband and her father raped her repeatedly. It's important.

2 Comments

22 out of 25 people found this helpful

Shug and Celie

by sprinze, April 16, 2014

There's no note of sexuality here, which is also important. Celie was raped repeatedly by Mr., her husband, and her step-father. She grew numb to it, which can happen with repeated abuse especially when it happens so often. The only sex she ever enjoyed was the completely consensual and compassionate time she shared with Shug. That makes Celie possibly gay/lesbian/bisexual/queer, or even asexual because she wasn't actually concerned about the act but more the emotional attachment and connection with Shug. Without any other positive sexual ex... Read more

1 Comments

123 out of 141 people found this helpful

Message to the girls

by MasondedeJohn, February 10, 2017

This book is totally for you. You need to read it. To read it again t o understand all the plot twists. If you are the man - don't bother reading. It's as boring as dead mouse. If you need to write an essay about it, order here -

https://nerdymates.com/

. But don't bother reading it)

See all 4 readers' notes   →