Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Eighty-One

By Alice Walker

Letter Eighty-One

  • A letter from Nettie.
  • Nettie, Samuel, and the children return to the Olinka village, but everybody is disappointed because they failed to get the Missionary Society in England to help save the Olinka way of life.
  • Tashi has disappeared. She’s basically hiding from Adam and Olivia because while they were away, she underwent the traditional Olinka female initiation and scarification. Tashi knows that Adam in particular won’t approve.
  • When Tashi finally does show up, her face is still all swollen from getting her face scarred.
  • Tashi is ashamed of her scars, but the village is pushing its young people to get the scars, almost like a last-ditch attempt to save their culture.
  • Adam really wants to head back to the U.S.
  • Samuel and Nettie, however, are feeling really happy in their marriage.
  • Life in Olinka has drastically changed as the villagers have to work very hard in order to pay the taxes to live on their land and use the water.