Celie A young black Georgia girl who faces adulthood believing that she has been raped by her father and that he killed both of their babies. The novel examines her struggle to find love, self-esteem, and continuing courage despite harsh setbacks.
Nettie Celie's sister. Celie loves Nettie more than anyone else in the world.
Fonso Celie and Nettie's stepfather; shortly after their father is killed, he marries their widowed mother.
Mr. ________ / Albert The moody, vicious man whom Fonso chooses as Celie's husband.
Celie's Mother She loses her mind after her husband is lynched, mutilated, and burned. After she marries Fonso, she is constantly pregnant and ill.
Annie Julia Albert's wife who is killed by her boyfriend while coming home from church.
Shug (Lilly) Avery A blues singing, no-nonsense woman who teaches Celie about love and self-esteem.
Harpo Albert's misguided, immature son; Sofia's husband.
Kate and Carrie Albert's sisters who come to "inspect" Celie and her housekeeping.
Sofia The outspoken and independent wife of Harpo.
Bub Albert's son; he is in and out of jail frequently.
Albert's Daddy A carping, prejudiced man; he dislikes Albert's relationship with Shug Avery.
Tobias Albert's toadying brother; he is fascinated by Shug.
Odessa Sofia's sister; she, Shug, and Squeak are able to get Sofia out of prison.
Jack Odessa's husband.
Swain Harpo's musician friend who helps Harpo build the jukejoint.
Henry ("Buster") Broadax Sofia's boyfriend; he is tall and stocky, built like a prizefighter.
Squeak (Mary Agnes) Harpo's girlfriend; she is a scatterbrained woman who begins to make a name for herself as a blues singer after she leaves Harpo.
The Mayor An arrogant, power-wielding white man; he is responsible for putting Sofia in prison.
Miss Millie The mayor's wife; a dithery white woman who fancies herself a champion of black people.
Bubber Hodges The prison warden; Squeak's uncle who rapes her.
Miss Beasley Nettie and Celie's teacher.
Corrine Reverend Samuel's wife. She and her husband buy Celie's babies from Fonso.
Samuel A missionary who takes Nettie with him and his family to Africa; after his wife, Corrine, dies, he marries Nettie.
Olivia Celie's daughter; she is reared in Africa by Samuel and Corrine.
Adam Celie's son; he is also reared in Africa by the missionaries. He marries Tashi.
Joseph The short, fat spokesman for the Olinka village; he meets Nettie's ship.
Billy Miss Millie's little boy; he steps on a rusty nail.
Eleanor Jane Miss Millie's daughter; after she is grown, she does baking and odd jobs for Sofia.
Grady Shug marries him; he is a "skinny big toof man wearing suspenders," according to Celie.
May Ellen The woman Fonso marries after Celie's mother dies.
Daisy The woman Fonso marries after May Ellen leaves him.
Tashi An Olinka woman whom Adam falls in love with.
Jimmy Hodges Bubber's brother; Squeak's father.
Suzie Q (Jolentha) Squeak and Harpo's little girl.
Henrietta Sofia's youngest child, probably fathered by Henry Broadnax; ironically, Harpo's favorite.
Jerene and Darlene Two women who sew for Celie's Folkspants, Unlimited.
Doris Baines ("Jared Hunt") An elderly white missionary, whom Nettie and Samuel meet on their sojourn to England. She is accompanied by her "grandchild," Harold, a small black child.
Germaine Shug's nineteen-year-old, blues flute playing, last-fling lover.
Stanley Earl Eleanor Jane's husband.
James Shug's son; a schoolteacher who lives on an Indian reservation; he is married to Cora Mae, and they have two children, Davis and Cantrell.