Why does Celie write to God?

Since her childhood, Celie’s life has been incredibly lonely; her mother dies young, she’s separated from her sister, and she’s married off to an uncaring man. She has no one in her life to speak with about her fears, traumas, loves, or hopes. So, she turns to God. Celie believes that God—whom she originally imagines as the omnipotent figure of the Abrahamic religions—will always be there, even if no one else is. With no real support in her life, God is the only entity that she can fully depend on and be honest with. However, as the story progresses, Celie begins to build a found family with people like Shug and Sofia. And when she finally discovers that Nettie is alive and has been attempting to contact her for years, she starts to write to her sister instead of God. Her quick transition to writing to Nettie belies how desperate Celie has been for real, truthful interaction with another human being, rather than an ambiguous figure. But when Nettie and her children are presumed dead in a shipwreck, Celie returns to writing to God, since she once again has found herself abandoned, without any family to communicate with.

However, Celie’s communications with God become more nuanced over the course of the novel as her definition of God changes. As Celie begins to conceptualize God as the essence of everything, including the self, it becomes clear that Celie’s letters to God were truly letters to herself, a system through which she copes and processes her emotions and circumstances.

Where does Nettie go?

After Nettie leaves Celie and Mr. ______’s home, she follows Celie’s advice to seek shelter with Corrine and Samuel, whom Celie suspects are the adoptive parents of her own daughter Olivia. Corrine and Samuel take Nettie in as their maid and treat her well, educating her and eventually inviting her to join them on a Christian mission to Africa. Along with Olivia and Adam, the family travels first to England, and then down to Africa, where they visit Senegal and Liberia before settling in an unnamed rustic village where they will live and work as missionaries. She remains here for many years, even building her own private hut—it’s sparingly furnished, but includes a writing desk where Nettie pens her letters to Celie. Adam and Olivia grow into young adults during their time in the village, and Corrine dies from illness. After the tribal village is displaced, Nettie, Samuel, and the children eventually return to England together, and then to the United States.

When does Shug talk about the color purple?

Shug mentions the color purple during a conversation with Celie about the nature of God. Shug believes in a version of God that is quite different from Celie’s. Celie envisions God as the traditional patriarchal figure of the Abrahamic religions, even admitting that she imagines him as a bearded white man, but Shug’s God is less concrete, and far more spiritual. It’s also detached from maleness or whiteness, making It more accessible to Shug and Celie. Shug believes that God is the essence of everything in the universe, from trees and animals to human beings. She also believes that God’s motivation behind creating the universe was to give Itself and humans something to admire, appreciate, and love, and that the best way to worship God is simply to enjoy the world around you. Shug says, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” Shug believes that it’s important to admire creation and to be pleased by the world’s beauty. This is a profound and life-changing sentiment for Celie and every other central character in The Color Purple, who are all in desperate need of finding something to love and cherish in a life so often filled with pain and tragedy.

What happens to Sofia?

As seen in her relationship with Harpo, Sofia is a fighter who refuses to take abuse from anyone. One day, when Sofia is visiting town with her children and boyfriend, she meets the white town mayor and his wife. The mayor’s wife, impressed by the cleanliness of Sofia’s children, asks Sofia if she’d like to work as a maid for the mayoral family. Already insulted by the micro-aggressive comment about cleanliness, Sofia tells the mayor’s wife, “Hell no.” During this time period in the southern United States, it was uncommon for Black men and women to speak so candidly to white people, as Black people were expected to be submissive. The mayor and his wife are shocked by Sofia’s tone, and the mayor slaps Sofia to remind her of her place in the racial hierarchy. When Sofia retaliates by hitting the mayor, the white police force arrives and beats Sofia close to death. She is sentenced to twelve years in prison. Celie and her people are able to manipulate the system enough to ensure Sofia’s release, but Sofia is forced to serve the rest of her sentence as the mayor’s family maid. Over the course of a decade, Sofia sees her own children once for a span of fifteen minutes. She spends much of her time raising the mayor’s white daughter, with whom she goes on to have a complicated relationship for the rest of her life. Sofia eventually rejoins Celie, Harpo, and the rest of the family after her service to the mayor’s family is over. Sadly, her relationship with her children, who didn’t have the chance to bond with her, is never truly restored.

Are Celie and Shug lovers?

Yes, Celie and Shug are lovers. However, their relationship dynamic is complicated. While Celie has experienced sexual intercourse with both her stepfather and her husband, she is uninterested in sex until Shug began to introduce her to new experiences. By experimenting sexually with Shug, Celie learns that she is sexually and romantically attracted to women, not men. She falls in love with Shug, and remains devoted to her for the rest of their lives. Shug, unlike Celie, enjoys sex and romance with both men and women, and participates in multiple marriages and affairs throughout her life, including with Albert, Celie, Grady, and Germaine. Shug’s free-spirited, spontaneous approach to romance is a testament to her loving and passionate nature, but it’s also a behavior that is hurtful to Celie, who shows no interest in anyone else in The Color Purple and would prefer to have a monogamous relationship with Shug. While this dynamic creates tension between the two women, nothing can truly shake their incredible bond. Shug and Celie are partners in every sense of the word—regardless of whether or not they’re currently involved with each other sexually, their love for each other remains strong. Furthermore, Shug does eventually stay true to her promise to return to Celie after her final fling with Germaine, suggesting that the two might live out their old age as committed partners.