Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Eighty-Three

By Alice Walker

Letter Eighty-Three

  • Celie returns to Nashville and Shug.
  • Over a nice Chinese dinner—Celie’s favorite—Shug drops some bad news on Celie’s lap. Shug is in love with somebody else—a 19-year-old boy named Germaine. He plays the blues flute and was part of her backup band.
  • Shug seems pretty into the young guy. According to her, "He little. He cute. Got nice buns," etc., etc. All the kind of stuff you shouldn’t be blabbing on about to the woman you’re leaving.
  • In Celie’s own words, "By the time she [Shug] finish talking about his neat little dancing feet and git back up to his honey brown curly hair, I feel like s***."
  • But Shug isn’t totally insensitive; she realizes that she’s hurting Celie and starts to cry.
  • Shug asks why Celie minds about her crush on Germaine when Grady was never a cause for jealousy. She answers her own question: "Grady so dull, Jesus."
  • Grady and Mary Agnes are now in Panama, running a reefer plantation.
  • Shug tries to talk and laugh to make Celie feel better, but Celie basically wants to die now. Shug has broken her heart.
  • Celie’s so tortured that when Shug asks her questions, Celie pulls out a paper and writes responses in order to avoid speaking.
  • Basically, Shug is just looking for a fun fling, not a real, soulful, long-term relationship. Shug says she’s just asking for six months to have a little fun.
  • Celie responds that she loves Shug no matter what, but can’t stay in Nashville with her.