The Color Purple

How does Celie's old house look when Shug takes her to visit Pa there?

Entries 69-75.

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Celie and Shug drive up. The flowers are all in bloom, it is very green, and the house looks gorgeous. Pa arrives but does not recognize Celie. Shug tells him who it is, and he invites them inside. Celie confronts him about not being their real father, and he simply says that now she knows. Celie asks where her real father is buried, and he answers that her father is buried next to her mother. They look but cannot find the graves.


In her letter to Nettie, Celie describes her feelings as she approaches Pa's house, writing, “Even the sun seem to stand a little longer over our heads.” Pa’s house is in full bloom and green, and the anthropomorphic description of the sun, lingering over the women’s heads, anticipates new warmth in Celie’s life. As Celie describes it, the sun stands over them to guard them, acting as a symbol of omnipotent grandeur and love in this garden of paradise. Interestingly, exactly the same phrase is used a couple of paragraphs earlier in a completely different context: Celie remembers the last time she saw Pa, “standing over” May Ellen, “tap tapping on the gravel with his cane.” In this case, the tyrannical male figure is a negative, dominating, looming presence who casts a shadow over the female. In her description, however, Celie has escaped into the positive rays of the sun.