Letter 54

Synopsis of Letter 54

Nettie is distressed that she has not heard from Celie since she left. Realising that Albert is concealing her letters, she asks Samuel to visit Celie and Albert but Samuel does not feel it is right to interfere. Nettie’s sense of isolation is clearly expressed – she cannot find work and Corrine and Samuel are preparing to leave America to carry out missionary work in Africa.

Commentary on Letter 54

This is the first specific mention of Corrine and Samuel’s missionary work and we discover that they have been involved in ministry to Native Americans and the poor of the town in preparation for undertaking missionary work in Africa.

It may seem surprising that a preacher is reluctant to help a vulnerable woman, but he believes that marriage is a sacred contract – even evidence of abuse is not sufficient cause for Samuel to get involved in the affairs of a married couple he does not know personally.

Investigating Letter 54

  • Begin two new character sheets, one for Corrine and the other for Samuel
  • Do some research on the sanctified church movement in America
  • Why does Samuel think it is wrong to interfere in Albert and Celie’s marriage?
    • How does this differ to modern western attitudes towards abuse within marriage?
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