Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Sixty-Two

By Alice Walker

Letter Sixty-Two

  • A letter from Nettie.
  • Nettie describes daily life in Africa, life as a missionary.
  • Nettie helps teach the children a variety of subjects. Olivia is getting educated as well, which is somewhat problematic because the Olinka struggle with the idea of educating girls.
  • The Olinka think a woman is nothing until she marries. Once she is married, she is the mother of her husband’s children. By that reasoning, Nettie doesn’t have much value at all.
  • Olivia is the only girl in school, and Adam is the only boy there who will talk to her. However, Olivia is the smartest child of them all.
  • She mentions a young girl named Tashi who is Olivia’s special friend. Since Tashi isn’t allowed to go to school, Olivia secretly teaches her friend everything she learns.
  • Olivia is having a hard time in Africa. She seems to be allergic to the bug bites and often gets sick from the food.
  • The wives of the fat chief tease Olivia, saying that soon she will be their "littlest sister/wife." Olivia hates the teasing, but Nettie recognizes that the women think that they are complimenting Olivia; they believe that being one of the chief’s wives is the highest honor for a woman.
  • The villagers keep thinking that Nettie is Samuel’s second wife, which really irritates Corrine. Corrine tells Nettie to call Samuel "brother" and to stop letting the children call her "Mama Nettie."
  • Nettie has her own hut, which she adores. She has her own desk, a bed covered in mosquito netting, a lamp, and a stool.
  • Nettie desperately wishes that she had a picture of Celie.