© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Color Purple

The Color Purple


by Alice Walker

Nettie Timeline and Summary

  • Nettie has a boyfriend, Mr.__, but Pa refuses to let them get married. Instead, Celie marries him.
  • Nettie stays with Celie and Mr.__ when she realizes what a horrible man Pa is. However, Mr.__ keeps coming on to her. Eventually, because she completely refuses his sexual advances, Mr.__ kicks her out. She promises to write to Celie.
  • Nettie does write, faithfully, but her letters never get through to her sister. Nettie’s no fool, though. She knows what Mr.__ is like and she figures out what’s happened. She keeps writing in hopes that eventually her letters will reach Celie.
  • Nettie seeks refuge with a minister and his wife, who adopted Celie’s children. She ends up going to Africa with them as a missionary.
  • In Africa, Nettie is both admired (as a teacher and missionary) and despised (because she is unmarried and childless). The lessons she learns about God, women, and race transform her into a more radical woman.
  • When Corrine, the reverend’s wife, gets sick, she accuses Nettie of sleeping with Samuel. She says she knows Adam and Olivia are Nettie’s children. Nettie finally tells Corrine and Samuel that her sister is the biological mother of the children.
  • After Corrine dies, Nettie and Samuel go to England together to try to save Olinka village they work in from destruction at the hands of rubber companies. They fail in their mission, but they do get married
  • Nettie and Samuel, with Adam, Olivia, and Adam’s wife, Tashi, return to the United States.
  • Nettie and her family are reunited with Celie.