Study Guide

The Color Purple Letter Ten

By Alice Walker

Letter Ten

  • Celie sees a little girl in town whom she knows must be her daughter (Pa seems to have given away Celie’s children). She can’t help but follow the little girl and her mother into a cloth store.
  • When the woman can’t find her husband, Celie offers to give her and the girl a ride.
  • They make small talk and the woman says that Celie’s husband is really good-looking.
  • Celie asks about the little girl, who turns out to be seven years old.
  • Celie wants to know what the little girl’s name is, thinking about how she stitched "Olivia" into the child’s clothing before Pa took her away.
  • The mother replies that the child’s name is "Pauline." But, she says, "I call her Olivia."
  • Celie’s heart dances with joy but she still asks the woman why she calls the little girl Olivia, if that isn’t her name?
  • The woman replies that her eyes look old and that’s why she calls her "Ole Livia." The woman laughs at her joke.
  • The woman sees her husband and hops into his wagon instead of Celie’s.