Study Help Essay Questions


1. How does the death of Celie's mother change Celie's relationship with her family, with herself, and with God?

2. In what ways are Nettie and Celie different? In what ways are they similar? Does Shug replace Nettie in Celie's life?

3. What justification, if any, do Fonso and Mr. ________ have for treating Celie the way that they do?

4. In Letter 10, Celie says, "I seen my baby girl. I knowed it was her." Why is she so sure? How does she go about finding her baby?

5. In Letter 14, when it is announced that Shug is coming to town, why are both Mr. _______ and Celie so happy?

6. Keeping in mind that Celie's husband, Mr. _______, has a classic villainous character, how can you explain his hiding Nettie's letters to Celie instead of destroying them?

7. How do Nettie's letters differ from Celie's? How are they the same?

8. Sofia is unjustly imprisoned. How is this related to the major theme of injustice, which touches all of the main characters in the novel?

9. In Letter 68, Shug is insistent that Celie come to Memphis with her. Why is Celie so confused and shocked? Why does she feel released from her life with Mr. ________?

10. How are Celie's letters like prayers? Explain her reasons for writing, "Dear Nettie, I don't write to God no more, I write to you. What happen to God? ast Shug. Who that? I say" (Letter 73). How does this quotation contrast with the first lines of the novel, "You better not never tell nobody but God"? In Letter 90, why does Celie address all of her world and God twice?

11. Explain the relationship between the color of purple and the feeling of beauty.

12. Examine the effect of two "arranged" marriages — Celie's to Albert, and Albert's to Annie Julia — and the consequences of each of them.