Letter 41

Synopsis of Letter 41

Squeak visits the warden but holds back from directly claiming he is her uncle. He emphasises that he rejects any such association by committing what he calls ‘a little fornication’ with her (i.e. Squeak is raped by her white uncle). She comes home dishevelled and upset. Although Harpo’s first instinct is to retaliate with aggression, Squeak feels that she has suffered in a good cause.

Commentary on Letter 41

Although Squeak has now been abused like many of the women in the novel, it is the beginning of a transformation similar to Celie’s. After being raped, she begins to stand up to the people in her life who fail to recognise her as a person. Her transformation into an independent person is symbolised by her name change when she insists that in future people call her Mary Agnes instead of using the dismissive nickname, Squeak.

Investigating Letter 41

  • What is the significance of Squeak’s name change?
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