Letters 1–10

Celie, at only fourteen, writes a letter to God for guidance as she is pregnant with her second child after her father, Alphonso, rapes her. Celie reveals Alphonso killed her first child and that her second child might have been sold. Celie says Alphonso’s abuse of her doesn’t end when he re-marries. Celie and her younger sister, Nettie, learn that a man known as Mr.___ wants to marry Nettie. Alphonso suggests that Celie would make a better wife. While in town, Celie sees a girl named Olivia, which is the same name Celie gave her own daughter.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 1–10

Letters 11–21

After running away, Nettie finds refuge with Celie, but she soon leaves due to Mr.___’s advances. His sisters treat Celie with kindness, suggesting that Harpo, Mr.___’s eldest son, help with the chores. Upon learning that Shug Avery will be singing at a local bar, Celie wishes to see her, but the only one who spends time with her is Mr.___, who becomes depressed after Shug leaves. Harpo impregnates Sofia, and he asks Mr.___ and Celie how to get her to behave, which leads Celie to suggest that he beat her, as she is jealous of Sofia’s strength.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 11–21

Letters 22–33

After Shug becomes ill, Mr.___ takes her in and Shug and Celie become friends, with Celie admitting that she feels an attraction toward her. When Harpo suggests his desire to beat Sofia again, Celie advises against it and explains that their relationship should be one of mutual love. Sofia decides to move out. Harpo and a friend open a juke joint where Shug is hired to sing, and Celie is disheartened when she sees the connection between Shug and Mr. ___. Shug dedicates a song to Celie, delighting and confusing her.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 22–33

Letters 34–43

Celie and Shug’s relationship grows increasingly intimate. Celie declares that she does not care if Shug sleeps with Mr.___, though later when she hears them together, she cries. At Harpo’s juke joint, Sofia gets into an altercation with Harpo’s new girlfriend, Squeak, and lands into further trouble when she knocks down the mayor and goes to jail. Celie asks Squeak to get Sofia out of jail by dressing up as a white woman, but this results in Squeak getting raped and Sofia becoming the maid for the mayor’s wife.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 34–43

Letters 44–60

Shug reveals that she is married to a man named Grady whom Celie is not fond of. Shug asks Celie about her sexual life, which Celie says has not improved, and she tells Shug her entire life story. Celie learns that Mr.___ has been keeping letters from Nettie, and Shug recovers them. Celie learns from Nettie’s letters that her children, Olivia and Adam, are still alive and were adopted by Samuel and Corrinne, with whom Nettie does missionary work in Africa.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 44–60

Letters 61–69

Samuel tells Nettie how he and Corrine came to adopt Celie’s children. He reveals that Alphonso is not Celie’s real father, at which point, Celie stops writing to God and begins writing to Nettie. When Celie learns about Shug’s decision to move away, Celie asks to move with her, but not before seeing Alphonso, who unveils that Celie’s real father was lynched.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 61–69

Letters 70–82

Nettie confesses to Samuel and Corrine that she is their children’s aunt, but Corrine dies shortly after. Shug announces that she, Celie, and Grady are moving to Memphis and Celie finally speaks her mind and curses Mr.___, her speech so rousing that Squeak is convinced to join them as well. In Memphis, Celie starts her own business, learns that Mr.___ has changed, Harpo and Sofia are happily remarried, and that Alphonso has died, leaving Celie land, which she returns to.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 70–82

Letters 83–90

Upon learning of Shug’s desire to have a fling with a younger man, Celie turns to Mr.___ for consolation and the two begin enjoying each other’s company. When Shug returns, she is jealous of the newfound relationship between Celie and Mr.___, yet Celie assures her that they mostly just talk about how much they love Shug. Nettie returns home with Celie’s children and they have an emotional reunion.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Letters 83–90