Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Eighty-Nine

By Alice Walker

Letter Eighty-Nine

  • Shug goes to the State Department to find out more about Nettie’s boat and whether or not she actually did drown. Shug isn’t able to get any helpful information.
  • Celie still hopes that her sister will show up soon.
  • Celie hires Sofia to work at the store, while Eleanor Jane helps out with Henrietta.
  • Evidently, Eleanor Jane went home after her fight with Sofia and learned the true story of how and why Sofia came to work for them. Horrified, she returned and befriended Sofia anew.
  • Mr.__ and Celie discuss why it’s so difficult not to love Shug— because Shug knows how to love somebody back.
  • Mr.__ and Celie get into some big, philosophical discussions. Mr.__’s essentially been wondering about the meaning of life, and why he’s here on Earth at all. He decides that he’s alive to "wonder" and ask questions. He decides that the more he thinks and wonders, the more he loves.
  • Celie pipes in that the more Mr.__ loves, the more people love him back.
  • Mr.__ is now busy sewing shirts to go with Celie’s pants.
  • He asks Celie to marry him again, this time for real, but Celie says no. She still can’t handle men, but she’s happy to be friends with him.
  • Shug is finally back home, and when she shows up, Celie has a room in her house ready, complete with elephants and turtles. Celie’s own room is all purple and red.
  • Germaine isn’t with Shug—he’s in college now. Shug had started feeling like he was way too young for her, more like a son or grandson than a legitimate lover.
  • Shug wants to know what Celie and Albert have been doing while she’s been away—she’s jealous.