Letter 46

Synopsis of Letter 46

Grady and Albert drink throughout Christmas while Celie and Shug regain a little of their friendly intimacy. Shug tells Celie how she met Grady, not noticing that Celie is upset. She admits that she now regards Albert as a member of the family rather than as a lover.

Celie confesses to Shug that she is still ‘a virgin’ and that although she and Albert do try to make love, Celie does not enjoy the experience.

Commentary on Letter 46

Shug is now a very successful singer and on familiar terms with blues singer Sophie Tucker and Duke Ellington, the famous African-American musician. However, despite the fact that she has made a great deal of money and has bought a brand-new car and a house in Memphis, note that she and Grady had to drive all night to reach Albert’s house because there was nowhere for them to stay while they were on the road.

Investigating Letter 46

  • Add to your character notes on Shug and Celie
  • What point is Walker making about black and white social status?
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