Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Eighty

By Alice Walker

Letter Eighty

  • A letter from Nettie.
  • Nettie says that she’s on her way home. She also married Samuel in England last fall while they were trying to get relief for the Olinka.
  • Road builders move into the Olinka village. They have to buy tin to cover their roofs. The roofleaf has all been plowed up to make room for the rubber trees. The tin roofs make the Olinka feel utterly defeated.
  • Nettie, Samuel, Adam, and Olivia leave for England.
  • On the trip there, they meet a white woman named Doris with a black child whom she refers to as her grandchild. One night, they hear her story—how she made a lot of money writing novels under a pen name. She built an entire African village with the money. She adopted two girls, who were actually presented to her as her wives, and she sent them to school to become a doctor and agriculturalist.
  • In England, Nettie and Samuel tell a bishop about the problems that the Olinka are experiencing. The bishop isn’t as interested in the Olinka as he is in Corrine’s death and the possibility that Nettie and Samuel have been having premarital sex.
  • Something is wrong with Adam, Nettie says. Later, we learn that it’s because he misses Tashi. He’s worried because she’s planning to go through the scarification and initiation process that he doesn’t approve of.
  • Samuel feels like they failed the Olinka.
  • Nettie tells the children about their mother, Celie.