The Color Purple

by: Alice Walker

Shug Avery

Shug Avery was a woman. The most beautiful women I ever saw. She more pretty then my mama. She bout ten thousand times more prettier than me.

When Celie sees a photograph of Shug Avery, she becomes immediately smitten with her beauty. Shug wears fur, glamorous make-up, and a stunning hair style. In the photograph, Shug stands next to a motorcar, a detail that adds allure and hints at Shug’s wilder side. However, Celie notes that Shug’s eyes appeared sad and serious, so she knows that, underneath all the glamor, Shug feels unhappy.

Shug Avery standing upside a piano, elbow crook, hand on her hip. She wearing a hat like Indian Chiefs. Her mouth open showing all her teef and don't nothing seem to be troubling her mind. Come one, come all, it say. The Queen Honeybee is back in town.

Celie muses on the image on the announcement for Shug’s show. Shug represents everything Celie is not: elegant, glamorous, and very attractive. Shug exudes confidence and poise. She represents a new kind of woman, the foil to Celie, unafraid of her sexuality and able to dress herself up and flaunt what she has.

All that powder her face black as Harpo. She got a long pointed nose and big fleshy mouth. Lips look like black plum. Eyes big, glossy. Feverish. And mean. Like, sick, as she is, if a snake cross her path, she kill it.

Celie shares her first glimpse of the real Shug Avery. Shug is sick and Mr. ____ has brought her to their house to recover. With Celie’s help, Shug heals. However, while caring for Shug over the next few months, Celie falls in love with her. Shug seems strong and fierce. She doesn’t take any grief from Mr. _____, who wishes she were his wife instead of Celie. Celie admires Shug for her looks, her power, and her fearlessness.

Everything about Nettie she want to know. I talk so much my voice start to go. Why you want to know so much bout Nettie? I ast. Cause she the only one you ever love, she say, sides me.

Celie and Shug discuss Celie’s sister, Nettie. Celie has just discovered that Mr. _____ has been hiding Nettie’s letters all these years. The truth was discovered after Shug watched him take a letter posted with foreign stamps from the mailbox. In this scene, Celie finally gets to read her sister’s letters. These two women, Nettie and Shug, represent Celie’s lifelines to emotion and love. Together, they help her piece her life together like a quilt. She discerns in her experience her own inner strength and worth.

My heart hurt so much I can’t believe it. How can it keep beating, feeling like this? But I’m a woman. I love you, I say. Whatever happen, whatever you do, I love you.

Celie responds to Shug after Shug confesses that she’s fallen for a nineteen-year-old man and asked Celie for six months to have what she calls her last fling. Shug even gets down on her knees, crying, begging for Celie to give her blessing, but Celie feels overwhelmed with pain. Unlike Celie, Shug feels attracted to men, and this particular young man has become the object of her affection and obsession.