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Free Study Guide-The Color Purple by Alice Walker-Free Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 81

Summary

When Nettie and her family return home to Africa from England, Adam and Olivia go in search of Tashi. They cannot find her for days and realize she is hiding because she has undergone the initiation ceremony and scarification. When they finally find her, Tashi is listless and cannot hold her head up; her scarred face now has twelve incisions on each cheek. Adam totally rejects her, but Olivia stays to console Tashi. While Tashi is beginning to realize the magnitude of her mistake, Adam is in conflict between the modern and the Olinkan cultures.

Notes

The clash of cultures plays itself out most intensely among the younger generation. Tashi is in a very difficult position because, as an Olinkan, she has been raised to believe that the ceremony of initiation into womanhood is natural; however, she has also been educated by Westerners, who regard genital mutilation and the scarification of her face as barbaric. This ritualistic African violence is, in truth, a reflection of the violence in the American South where women, such as Celie, are subjected to constant abuse because of tradition.


CHAPTER 82

Summary

Celie writes to Nettie to tell her that their stepfather, Fonso, is dead. Daisy, Fonso's teenage bride, has called to inform her that the house, store, and land belong to Nettie and Celie. The property originally belonged to their real father, but Fonso kept it for himself without informing Nettie and Celie it belonged to them.

At first Celie does not want to live where Fonso has lived; but with Shug's encouragement she finally realizes the value of having a place of her own as well as her own business. When she and Shug drive down to see the house, they stop at the cemetery to see Fonso's gravestone, which states he was a great father and great man. Shug yawns and says, "The son of a bitch." Inside the house, Celie runs from room to room excited about the possibilities it offers. Shug takes out some cedar sticks and lights them, smoking out all the bad spirits. Celie writes that the house is big enough to house Nettie, Samuel, Olivia, Adam, Celie and Shug.

Notes

When Fonso dies, Celie learns for the first time that her stepfather's house, land, and store really belong to Nettie and her, for they were the property of their real father. Fonso has simply "stolen" them from the girls; fortunately Daisy, Fonso's teenage wife, tells Celie the truth. At first Celie does not want to move into the house where Fonso has lived, but Shug convinces her to do it. Once she sees the place, she grows excited with the possibilities it offers. She writes to Nettie that there is plenty of room in the house for all of them, including Olivia and Adam. Walker is foreshadowing the resolution of the plot, when Celie will finally be united with her family. The place that had been the scene of abuse and heartbreak will become a scene of harmony and love.

In the early part of the novel, Celie suffered unbelievably with the sexual and emotional abuse that Fonso, her stepfather, imposed. Now she learns that he has also kept the house, land, and store for himself, even though they rightfully belong to Nettie and her. Ironically, the gravestone of this evil man states that he is a great father and businessman. Celie, however, is gaining her poetic justice. During the novel, she has escaped her horrible past and experienced emotional and spiritual growth; now she has the opportunity for real economic growth as well. The fact that it will come in Fonso's house and store forms a neat circle in the structure of the novel. The end of the story will take place where it began

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