Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Seventy-Four

By Alice Walker

Letter Seventy-Four

  • Sofia worked for the Mayor’s wife for eleven and a half years. She has finally come back home and her kids don’t know how to treat her; she’s a stranger to them. Sofia’s oldest children have even gotten married already.
  • Harpo, Sofia’s actual husband, and Harpo’s girlfriend seem like an old married couple because they’ve been together since before Sofia was in jail.
  • Sofia’s children even call Odessa, Sofia’s sister, "Mama" and call Mary Agnes "little mama." So it seems like there isn’t much of a place for Sofia.
  • Over dinner at Odessa’s house, Shug announces that she and Grady leaving and they’re taking Celie with them to Tennessee.
  • Mr.__ can’t believe what he hears. Shug has to repeat it over and over again.
  • Mr.__ doesn’t understand why Celie is leaving.
  • Celie finally lets Mr.__ have it. She calls him a "lowdown dog" and accuses him of keeping Nettie from her.
  • Everyone is astonished that Celie actually has some sass in her.
  • Celie even says that she has children in Africa, and they’re coming home with Nettie and "all us together on whup your ass." Go Celie.
  • Celie can’t stop. She tells Mr.__ that his kids are rotten (which Harpo objects to) and that they all treated her terribly.
  • When Mr.__ slaps Celie, she jabs him with her dinner knife.
  • Mr.__ tells Celie that people will think badly of her if she runs off to Memphis. Shug says women shouldn’t care what other people think. Grady, however, says a woman can’t get a man if she has a bad reputation.
  • All the women in the room find this pretty funny. Shug, Celie, Squeak, and Sofia all laugh.
  • As the men try to make their women chill out, Sofia tells Harpo that her youngest child isn’t his. The little girl is named Henrietta and she’s Harpo’s favorite child.
  • Mary Agnes decides she’s going to Memphis, too. She wants to sing! Harpo is so surprised and acts just like Mr.__ did when he heard Celie was leaving.
  • A knock sounds on the door, interrupting all of the family drama.
  • Eleanor Jane, the mayor’s daughter, comes to spill her problems to Sofia. Sofia was such a mother to her, she doesn’t know any different.
  • Apparently Eleanor Jane’s family has a lot of problems. Now Sofia has to go back for a couple of hours to try to sort out some mess that they’re in.
  • Squeak and Harpo’s little girl, Suzie Q, has taken a real liking to Sofia and doesn’t want Miss Sofia to have to go to they mayor’s house.
  • Sofia offers to look after Suzie Q while Squeak is in Memphis singing. Squeak asks Sofia to look after Harpo, too.