Letter 34

Synopsis of Letter 34 

Shug’s regular appearances at Harpo’s juke-joint ensures a good income for both of them. Restored to health, Shug announces she intends to return to the wider world, leaving Celie downcast. Her confession that Albert beats her for not being Shug makes the singer decide to stay until she can be sure that Albert will never do it again.

Commentary on Letter 34 

Shug’s promise to support Celie is the second great service which she does for her in this part of the novel and marks a significant change to a more protective role. Her loyalties are now divided:

  • To Albert because of their long-term love affair
  • To Celie, as a close and valued friend.

Investigating Letter 34

  • What does Shug's decision to stay until she has made sure Albert will stop beating Celie tell you about:
    • Her character?
    • Her feelings about Celie?
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