Summary and Analysis Letter 5


In this letter to God, Celie confides that life is still unjust; Fonso beats her for flirting in church. Flirting with men, Celie tells God, is something completely foreign to her nature. She is frightened of men — and for good cause. The men in her life have been brutal and callous. Celie doesn't even "look" at men. Instead, she looks at women. She trusts women; she forgives even her mother for the mad, raving verbal attacks described in Letter 2.

We should realize at this point that a pattern of physical abuse is being established and repeated. As far as Celie knows, her mother never enjoyed her ever-pregnant life, which is why Celie urges Nettie to try for a little happiness with her suitor, Mr. ________. To Celie, even "one good year" seems like a very long time to be happy. "One good year" means one year in which Nettie won't be beaten or be pregnant. And Celie herself supposes that she is pregnant again because she hasn't been having regular menstrual periods. Celie has had two children, but she doesn't fully understand the process of conception. No one has explained to her the workings of a woman's body — just as no one has offered her love and understanding.