Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Eighty-Four

By Alice Walker

Letter Eighty-Four

  • Back home, Henrietta (Sofia’s youngest daughter) is fighting for her life. The family is treating her illness the same way people in Africa treat it: with lots of yams.
  • Yams, yams, yams. Henrietta hates yams, so the family bands together to try to make all kinds of yam dishes that don’t taste anything like yams.
  • Even Mr.__ is all concerned. He made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Henrietta with yams secretly mixed into the peanut butter.
  • Mr.__ is becoming a new man. He still lives in the same old house, but he takes care of it better than he used to. He’s even becoming sensitive and likes collecting seashells.
  • Celie goes over to Mr.__’s house to check out his shells. Neither of them have ever seen the ocean, so Mr.__ orders shells and has them delivered.
  • Mr.__ asks Celie a question about herself (finally!). He asks her if she likes anything in particular, the way he likes shells. Celie responds that she’s into birds.
  • Mr.__ comments that Celie used to be like a skittish bird when they first got married. He apologizes for treating her so inconsiderately.
  • Eventually, Celie can’t help but cry.
  • Mr.__ asks, "Celie, tell me the truth. You don’t like me cause I’m a man?"
  • Celie’s response: "Take off they pants […] and men look like frogs to me. No matter how you kiss ‘em, as far as I’m concerned, frogs is what they stay."