By Walker Alice
By Walker Alice
Alice Walker grew up in a small town in Georgia, in the mid-1900’s. Her parents were sharecroppers, and she grew up hearing of the struggles and oppression of African-Americans in the sharecropping system. Seeing how black people were treated in the South, Walker threw herself heavily into the civil rights movement.
Although she was privileged to go to good colleges and to travel, she did experience her share of hardships, which probably helped her to write many of her stories. She was shot in the eye, accidentally, by one of her brothers, which caused her to be half blind and often discriminated against throughout her adolescence. Also, she found herself pregnant when she returned from her semester in Uganda as an exchange student and briefly considered suicide before finally deciding to have the baby aborted.
“The Color Purple” is a story about several black women living in the south who are going through various degrees of struggle in their lives. It is probable that Walker drew inspiration from her real life tribulations, her involvement in the civil rights movement and her experience with the injustice faced by sharecroppers.
Though many African American male critics have panned the novel, stating that it paints a negative picture of black men and feeds into stereotypes, black women see it as empowering and inspiring.
Walker has become a favorite author for women all over the world, regardless of race, and one of the most successful and well-known contemporary American authors.
The story starts with the narrator, a fourteen-year-old girl named Celie, living in the backcountry of Georgia with her sister, Nettie, their dying mother, and their father, Alphonso. Celie is sexually abused by Alphonso and impregnated by him twice. In both cases, Alphonso took the baby from her and got rid of it. Even through the death of Celie’s mother, and a new wife, Alphonso continues to abuse her.
Celie’s younger and prettier sister, Nettie, is desired by a man known as Mr. _____, who already has a woman in his life; a lounge singer by the name of Shug Avery. Alphonso refuses to allow Nettie to marry Mr. _____, but offers Celie to him and he accepts. Nettie runs away from Alphonso’s house and lives with Celie and Mr. _____ for a time, but eventually Nettie runs off, and Celie assumes she has died because she does not hear from her anymore.
Mr. _____’s son, Harpo, impregnates and marries a large woman named Sofia with an exuberant personality. Harpo and Mr. _____ constantly try to berate Sofia, but to no avail because Sofia is both physically and mentally stronger than they are.
When Shug becomes sick, Mr. _____ allows her to stay in his house where Celie develops a sexual attraction to her. Shug stays at the house to save Celie from being beaten my Mr. _____ and the two women soon develop a sexual relationship with one another.
Shug gets married to a man named Grady, yet continues to have sex with Celie. Shug asks Celie about Nettie and Celie tells her that she assumes Nettie is dead because she has not heard from her and Shug tells her that she has seen Mr. _____ hide letters, which turn out to be from Nettie.
Nettie was taken in by missionaries named Samuel and Corrine and was living in Africa with them, and their two adopted children, which coincidentally look like Nettie. It is revealed that the two children are Celie’s from when Alphonso impregnated her, and Alphonso is not really their father, but their stepfather.
When Corrine dies Nettie marries Samuel, and they move back to the states where Celie and Nettie are reunited. Most relationships that suffered throughout the novel are repaired as the characters get older and Celie and Nettie become close once again, happier than they have ever been.
The narrator of the novel, though rather than telling the story she writes letters. Celie was abused sexually by her stepfather Alphonso, given to a man named Mr. _____ to marry, and is separated from her sister, Nettie, for many years.
Celie has two children with Alphonso: Olivia and Adam, though she does not even know they are alive for many years. She is poor and uneducated and lives through much abuse. She befriends and has an intimate relationship with Shug Avery and becomes a stronger woman who stands up for herself against those who have abused her.
Celie’s younger sister whom Celie loves very much. Mr. _____ wants to marry Nettie at first, though Alphonso refuses to allow it and he ends up marrying Celie. Nettie runs away to live with Celie and Mr. _____ for a time but when Mr. _____ makes advances toward her she leaves, not to be heard from for many years.
She meets missionaries named Samuel and Corrine and moves with them to Africa. She writes Celie many letters, though Celie never gets them and paints a picture of Africa for the novel. She cares for Samuel’s and Corrine’s adopted children, Adam and Olivia, later learning that they are Celie’s biological children, and marries Samuel when Corrine dies.
The man whom Celie and Nettie believe to be their father for many years (“Pa”), only later learning that he was, in fact, their step-father rather than their biological father. He favored Nettie, the younger, prettier, daughter over Celie, though Celie is the one he sexually abused.
He is the father of Adam and Olivia, with Celie, though he sold them right after Celie gave birth to them. Alphonso never reforms himself into a decent human being, dying an abuser. When he dies, he leaves his house and property to Celie.
His real name is Albert, though throughout the novel he is referred to as Mr. _____. He is Celie’s husband and he abuses her for a very long time. He originally wanted to marry Nettie, but when Alphonso refused he decided to marry Celie instead. Mr. _____ has a son named Harpo, whom he encourages to assert dominance over his wife, Sofia.
He has feelings for Shug, though he is married to Celie and he hides the letters Nettie sends to Celie from African, leading Celie to believe Nettie is dead. Later in life Mr. _____ transforms himself and feels great guilt for the person he was in the past, and he and Celie eventually form a friendship.
A blues singer who Celie meets through Mr. _____, who is in love with her and has taken her as his mistress. Shug and Celie do not get along at first, though eventually they become best of friends. Shug and Celie develop a strong friendship that turns into an intimate relationship and Shug teaches Celie how to become a self-confident, independent woman.
She makes Celie feel comfortable, and like she is worth something for the first time in her life and Celie has a very strong love for her because of the gentle way in which she helped to come into her own.
Harpo is Mr. _____’s son and the husband of Sofia. Mr. _____ often berates Harpo for looking like less of a man when he allows Sofia to speak her mind. He is very atypical in terms of gender stereotypes because he cries, he likes to do housework, he loves his independent wife, and he kisses his children, all of which are things that supposedly make one less manly.
Harpo attempts, at the encouragement of his father, to physically abuse Sofia, but he fails because she is stronger than he is. Eventually, Harpo realizes the error of his ways and reforms himself and repairs his marriage to Sofia.
Harpo’s independent, outspoken wife. She is a good friend of Celie’s and will not allow anyone to assert their dominance over her, especially whites or men. The mayor tries to hire her to be his maid, to which Sofia says, “hell no”, and thus she is arrested and forced to do it anyway for a term of twelve years, in lieu of going to jail.
With this punishment, Sofia realizes why people must not resist those in higher position, or try to single-handedly stop racism, because she endures many hardships over those twelve years.
One of the missionaries Nettie befriends and moves to Africa with. She is the adoptive mother of Adam and Olivia, Celie’s biological children, unbeknownst to anyone. Corrine notices that Nettie resembles her children very much and begins to resent her. She believes that Nettie is having too close a role in their family and thinks that Nettie and Samuel have had an affair. While Corrine, Samuel, Nettie, Adam, and Olivia are still living in Africa, Corrine gets sick and dies. As Corrine expects, Samuel and Nettie get married soon after.
The other missionary that Nettie befriends and moves to Africa with. He is married to Corrine at first and later to Nettie. He is the adoptive father of Adam and Olivia, who are Celie’s biological children though no one knows that Nettie is actually related to them.
Samuel is a priest and a very strong black man who makes it his mission to lift the spirits of African Americans all over the world. Samuel takes his family and Nettie to Africa to do missionary work and becomes very close with Nettie.
He tells Nettie a story that informs her that Alphonso is not her biological father, but her stepfather. After Corrine’s death, Samuel and Nettie marry.
Squeak is a woman who becomes Harpo’s lover after Sofia has left him. Squeak is mulatto and thus suffers many of the hardships that other blacks do, even though she is half white. Mulattos were in some cases discriminated against worse than blacks because they were the product of a mixed race relationship.
Squeak is abused just as badly as the other women in the story and eventually, like Celie, becomes a stronger woman who stands up for herself. Once asserting her independence, Squeak insists on being called by her real name, Mary Agnes, and decides that she wants to be a singer.
The biological son of Celie and Alphonso who was sold by Alphonso right after his birth. He was adopted by Samuel and Corrine and eventually cared for by Nettie, who is actually his aunt.
Adam falls in love with an Olinka girl in Africa named Tashi, and they get married. Adam has a great deal of respect for Tashi and considers her his equal, going against the patriarchal ideals of most other men in the novel. Adam’s marriage to an African girl connects Africa and America in the novel and in Celie’s mind.
Tashi is from the Olinka Village in Africa and is married to Adam. Tashi is very tradition and embraces African culture. She is anti-imperialism and colonization. She is very against white power and the dominance and abuse inflicted by white men against African Americans.
She decides to stay true to her African culture, as a means of differentiating herself physically from other cultures, by undergoing facial mutilation and female circumcision. These are common practices in African culture and set them apart from the rest of the world. Adam also undergoes facial mutilation with Tashi.
The biological daughter of Celie and Alphonso, the adopted daughter of Corrine and Samuel, and the sister of Adam. When the family moves to Africa, Olivia becomes very close friends with an Olinka girl named Tashi.
Eventually, Tashi marries Olivia’s brother Adam and the two become sisters-in-law. Tashi’s and Olivia’s friendship shows the strength of bonds between women and also shows that though people are of different cultural backgrounds, they can still develop a close tie to one another.
Miss Millie is the mayor’s wife and the reason that Sofia was asked to be their maid. Miss Millie saw how well kept Sofia’s children were and wished to have her as her maid.
Miss Millie is very racist and speaks down to people, thinking she is on a high horse. When Sofia says “hell no” to the request to be their maid, Miss Millie has her arrested. Instead of going to jail, Sofia is sentenced to twelve years as Miss Millie’s maid.
The daughter of the mayor and Miss Millie. Eleanor Jane feels very close to Sofia and considers her a friend she would like to come to when she needs emotional support, but Sofia finds it hard to be close to Eleanor Jane because she was treated very poorly by the mayor and Miss Millie for the years she worked for them.
Eleanor Jane does not, at first, understand the struggles and abuse that African Americans have faced, but as she gets older realizes the injustice of it. Eleanor Jane cares for Sofia’s daughter, Henrietta, as a sort of penance for what Sofia has gone through.
The Power of Voice
Celie is taught at an early age to keep her mouth shut about the abuse she endures and this becomes something she carries with her. She becomes attracted to people who abuse her, and she never says anything about it to anyone.
When she meets Sofia and Shug, two women who are very open and outspoken, she learns the power of her own voice. The women teach her that she must stand up for herself, or she will always be walked all over. It is not until Celie learns to stand up for herself and use her voice that she finally achieves happiness and respect.
Female relationships come in several different forms in this novel, but all of them are very important. Without one another, the women would be less powerful, but together they are a very strong unit.
Nettie and Celie are sisters who lose a lot of time together but remain close when they reunite, Shug and Sofia are close friends of Celie, and Shug is quite a bit more than that as they have a sexual relationship. Women often seem to be pitted against one another by the men, but end up becoming tight and prevailing, stronger than ever.
Learning from the Environment
Most people who are abused tend to become abusers, as most people who are abusers were abused at some point in their lives. People become what they know. Harpo was berated by his father for not being a strong enough force against Sofia, thereby letting Sofia have the upper hand, so he became more forceful with her.
Mr. _____ was abused by his father when he was a boy, so he becomes abusive as a man. When Eleanor Jane has her baby, Sofia tells her that when he grows up he will be a racist because he is raised around racist people.
The Influence of Color
In this novel, color greatly influences mood or represents the characters state in life. Characters often comment on the colors they are seeing and the colors that each character notices represent where they are emotionally at that moment.
When Celie and Kate go shopping they notice that all of the dresses are drab colors. When Mr. _____ has a spiritual awakening, of sorts, he pants the rooms in his house white: bright and clean. Celie notes “the color purple” is one of the greatest things God ever created. Color creates, influences, and describes moods, stations in life, and spiritual state of mind in this novel.
Violence is prevalent throughout the novel but especially against women. The men in “The Color Purple” use violence to assert their dominance over the women physically, sexually, and emotionally.
Celie is sexually and emotionally abused by Alphonso who rapes her then gives away her children and later physically abused by Mr. _____. Sofia is abused by Harpo, at the encouragement of his father, and some may say that Sofia verbally abuses others.
The abuse of many characters begins at a young age so as they get older they are more apt to abuse others, and they do.
It may not seem as though there is a lot of female dominance in this novel because there is so much abuse, but there is, especially toward the end. Throughout the novel, Shug and Sofia represent strong women who stand up to men regardless of how they will be treated in return.
These women are not afraid to speak their mind and encourage others to do so, as well. Shug encourages Celie to defend herself against Mr. _____ and she does so, eventually changing Mr. _____ to the core. Though the female dominance may be subtle, it is what makes the women come out on top at the end.
Sex is seen by Celie as a form of violence for most of her life. When she is a young girl she is molested by her stepfather, Alphonso, for years, resulting in two children whom she never meets until she is much older.
When she is married to Mr. _____, sex is loveless and can be violent, as well. She never enjoys sex because she looks at men with fear and disgust, having only negative experiences with them. She does begin to enjoy sex, or even love, until she meets Shug, making her only satisfying sexual relationship one with a woman.
Celie writes many of her letters to God, showing her faith in religion despite the struggles she has faced, though she does falter at times. As a young girl and young adult, Celie sees God as an old white man.
Throughout her younger years in life, she is abused by men continuously, and she begins to rebel against the image of God because she sees him as a man. As Celie gets older, wiser, and more independent, she sees God as genderless and thinks of God more spiritually, rather than as an individual.
She sees God as someone/thing that focuses on making people happy and allowing them to enjoy life, rather than human.
Love is a complex matter in this novel because the ties of love are very strong, but necessarily in male/female relationships. The familial love between Celie and Nettie is strong, even when they go years without speaking to one another and the love that Celie and Shug share is very strong.
The love in marriages is almost non-existent because men are seen as violent toward, disloyal to, and disrespectful of the women with whom they are married. The women are like sisters to one another in many cases, thus making the bonds of love more familial than marriage-bound.
Race plays an important role in this novel, mostly because of the setting. The story begins in the South prior to the Civil Rights movement, and the characters are poor, under-educated African Americans. Before the Civil Rights movement, blacks had very few rights and were often abused by white people.
Celie was not proud of the fact that she was African American because she did not see anything to be proud of based on the people of her heritage that she was surrounded by. It was not until she became educated people who were actually from Africa that she was truly proud of who she was.
The novel is narrated by Celie in terms of letters, though it opens with one of Celie’s memories. She is remembering her father, Alphonso, telling her not to speak of the sexual abuse he has inflicted on her.
In letter one, Celie’s mom has just had another child and will not have sex with her husband because she has just given birth and this upsets him. He begins to molest Celie to get what he wants, and her mother has no idea, but is happy that he is not bothering her anymore.
Celie’s father tells her not to tell anyone but God about the abuse, and so she begins every letter to God. Celie begins to experience symptoms of morning sickness. Letter two, Celie gives birth to a child and her mother, very sick at this point, is curious to know who the father is.
Celie tells her mother that God is the father and when the baby disappears she tells her mother than God has taken it, though it was really Pa who had done so. Celie’s mother dies, and Celie gives birth to a second baby.
Celie gives birth to her second child in letter three, this time it is a boy, which Pa also takes away. Pa starts to be very mean toward Celie and critical of the way she looks and everything she does so Celie begins to worry that he will start molesting her younger sister Nettie now. Celie vows to do everything she possibly can to protect her little sister.
By letter four, Pa remarries this time with a girl the same age as Celie whom he spends a lot of time having sex with. Nettie is seeing a much older man, only referred to as “Mr. _____”, who is a widower with three children, his wife having been murdered.
Celie encourages Nettie to concentrate on school rather than marrying an older man who already has kids. In letter five, Celie changes her mind about Mr. _____ and wants Nettie to marry him, just for the sake of getting away from Pa, because he is becoming more abusive. He gets mad at Celie because he believes that she winked at a boy though Celie tells him that she did no such thing as she is scared of men. At this point, Celie has stopped getting her period all together and will not likely be able to have any more children.
In letter six, Mr. _____ asks Pa if he can marry Nettie, but Pa refuses. He says that Nettie is much too young, and he disapproves of the fact that Mr. _____ has a mistress: Shug Avery. When Celie sees a picture of Shug Avery that Mr. _____ carries in his wallet she becomes obsessed with her because she is very trendy and beautiful.
By letter seven, Pa’s new wife is sick, and possibly pregnant, and Celie dresses up nice to keep Pa interested in her rather than Nettie. Both Nettie and Pa’s wife finally realize that Pa has been molesting Celie and are sickened.
When Mr. _____ asks for Nettie’s hand once again, Pa refuses but offers him Celie. He says that she is ugly, not a virgin, and lies, but she is good as housework, can’t have any more kids and he will throw in a cow and some linens, but Mr. _____ does not accept right away.
In letter eight, Nettie and Celie form a plan to run away together when Celie gets to Mr. _____’s house. They study Nettie’s schoolbooks to get smart enough to make a plan. When Celie was pregnant, Pa took her out of school even though she was very smart and loved to go because Pa told her that Nettie was the smart one, so Celie did not need school.
Mr. _____ eventually came around to look at Celie again and said he would take her if he could still get the cow, as well. In letter nine, Celie and Mr. _____ get married, and Harpo, the eldest of his four children, tries to kill Celie by throwing a rock at her head. Celie realizes that no one has brushed his children’s hair since their mother died when she cannot get the tangles out. Celie says she thinks of Shug Avery when she is having sex with Mr. _____.
In letter ten, Celie sees a child in town that looks just like her and thinks it must be Olivia, the first child she had with Pa. She offers to give the girl and her mother a ride, asking the little girl’s name and age, and afterward convinced that the little girl is, in fact, hers. They end up finding the woman’s husband and getting a ride with him.
In letter eleven, Nettie moves in with Celie and Mr. _____ because Pa will not leave her alone. Her and Celie study to try to run away. Nettie believes that Celie should stand up against the kids, but Celie does not think she has it in her. When Mr. _____ incessantly hits on Nettie, and she refuses, he kicks her out.
Nettie worries for Celie and promises to write, though Celie never gets any letters. In letter twelve, Mr. _____’s sisters, Carrie and Kate, visit. They did not seem fond of his first wife, favorably comparing Celie to her, though they muse that it was not her fault as he was always off with Shug Avery, whom they were sick of hearing about.
Kate visits again and takes Celie to buy new clothes for the first time in her life, and she tells her that she needs to stand up to the kids. Kate even attempts to tell off Harpo but Mr. _____ comes down on her for it, and she leaves, telling Celie that she needs to take care of herself against them.
In letter thirteen, Harpo inquires to his father as to why he beats Celie. Mr. _____ tells him that it is because Celie is his wife and he needs to keep her in line, so he beats her with his belt. Harpo tells Celie that he is in love with a girl from church whom he wants to marry though he has never spoken to her.
In letter fourteen, Celie learns that Shug Avery is coming to town to sing, and Celie is excited to see her, even though her husband wants to have an affair with her. Celie just wants to look at Shug as she has become sort of obsessed with her.
In letter fifteen, Mr. _____ has just returned from spending the entire weekend with Shug, and he is sad and just sits around and smokes. Celie would like to ask Mr. _____ questions about Shug but she does not.
In letter sixteen, we learn that Harpo works very hard so that Mr. _____ does not have to. Mr. _____ does not appreciate Harpo any more than he does Celie. Harpo is still in love with the girl from church.
By letter seventeen Harpo is still in love with the girl, named Sofia Butler, and she is eight months pregnant with his child. Her father does not approve of him because his mother was murdered and his father does not think the child she is carrying is really Harpo’s.
When Harpo does not defend Sofia against his father’s accusations, she realizes that he is not independent enough to be a father and tells him that she and the baby will be waiting for him when he is ready.
In letter eighteen, Harpo brings Sofia and the baby to live with him, fixing up his father’s shed to make them a home. He works very hard and Mr. _____ pays him for his work. Sofia is a very big and strong woman and the two of them are very happy in their marriage, though Mr. _____ is not happy for them.
In letter nineteen, Celie tells of a time when Harpo asked Celie and Mr. _____ how he can get Sofia to follow his orders. Mr. _____ tells Harpo to beat her, as he does to Celie and Celie agrees, though perhaps more out of jealousy than agreement because she thinks they are too happy to worry about following orders.
Harpo appears later with a black eye, claiming he got kicked by a mule, but it is obvious to Celie that Sofia hit him back. In letter twenty, Sofia and Harpo are in a particularly nasty fight where Sofia is hitting Harpo with logs when he tries to beat her. Sofia definitely has the upper hand in the fight.
In letter twenty-one, Celie is having trouble sleeping and thinks it is because of the guilt she feels for telling Harpo to beat Sofia. Sofia finds out Celie told him that and is mad at her at first, until she realizes that Celie is jealous of Sofia for being strong enough to fight back.
Celie thinks she has no feelings at all because she never gets mad, she just talks to God. Sofia feels bad for Celie and the two are friends once again and make a quilt. Shug Avery gets sick in letter twenty-two, and it has the whole town talking. Even the priest, who thinks very highly of Celie, thinks that Shug is a tramp and deserves to be sick for stealing men from other women.
Mr. _____ takes Shug in to have Celie care for her, and Sofia and Harpo are saddened for Celie, though Celie is actually very excited. When Shug comes into the house, she is mean to Celie right off the bat, calling her ugly.
In letter twenty-three, Shug is very sick, and Celie believes that if she were not so evil she would probably just die, but she likes having her there all the same. Mr. _____ is very worried about her, but Shug is short with him and refers to him by his first name, Albert. Mr. _____ assumes Celie is upset that Shug is there, though Celie is very happy about it.
In letter twenty-four, Celie gives Shug a bath because Mr. _____ does not want to do, even though he and Shug have had three children together. Celie is happy to give Shug a bath and feels like a man staring at her because she finds her so attractive. She tells Celie that she has three children that live with her mother and does not miss them at all and Celie tells her that she has two children, but she does not know where they are.
In letter twenty-five, Celie tells of trying to get Shug to eat, though Shug refuses because she is snobby, expecting juice and fruit when Celie is eating ham, biscuits, and gravy. When Celie leaves the room to get Shug some water she returns and sees that Shug ate some of her food and both Celie and Mr. _____ are happy that Shug has finally eaten, Celie getting a sense of satisfaction.
In letter twenty-six, it is obvious that Shug and Celie are getting closer, as Celie gets Shug to sit up in bed and allow her to comb her hair. Shug hums a song that she tells Celie was inspired by her.
In letter twenty-seven, Mr. _____’s father comes to visit, criticizing Mr. _____ for wanting to be with Shug as he finds her trashy. He sympathizes for Celie for her husband’s mistress being in their house, but Celie likes Shug and thus spits in Mr. _____’s father’s water.
Celie and Mr. _____ both treat Shug with the same revelry, and when Celie attempts (unsuccessfully) to teach Shug to sew she says she feels good and right for the first time in her life.
In letter twenty-eight, Celie and Sofia are working on a quilt together, that contains a piece of Shug’s yellow dress and talk about Harpo and his strange new eating habits. He is eating so much food lately that people joke with him that he must be pregnant. In letter twenty-nine, Harpo finally tells Celie that the reason he has been eating so much is because he thinks that if he gets as big as Sofia he may be able to make her mind him.
Celie tells him that she minds his father, but they do not love one another, yet he and Sofia love one another, so they do not need to have control like that in their relationship. She points out that Mr. _____ does love Shug and Shug does not allow him to abuse her. Harpo cries and throws up all of the extra food he ate that day.
In letter thirty, Celie tells Sofia about Harpo’s plan to get as big as her and Sofia tells her that she is thinking of leaving him and moving in with her sister and that she does not even want to have sex with him anymore like she used to. Celie thinks that she has never wanted to have sex with Mr. _____, she just lets him do it. The only person she gets excited thinking about is Shug.
In letter thirty-one, Sofia makes the decision to leave Harpo and her and the children go to live with her sister. Harpo acts like he does not care at all, and Celie gives Sofia the quilt they made to take with her. In letter thirty-two Harpo realizes that he is good looking and turns the little shed, and he and Sofia had made their home into a dance spot.
Celie asks Harpo what Sofia will think when she comes back, and Harpo tells Celie that Sofia is not going to come back. In letter thirty-three, Harpo starts getting more people coming into his juke joint as Shug begins to sing there.
Celie loves watching Shug sing there, although Mr. _____ does not like her to go because he feels as though his wife shouldn’t do such things. Shug sings a song for Celie, and she feels more special than she ever has before.
In letter thirty-four, Shug and Harpo are making a lot of money with Shug singing at Harpo’s every weekend. The time comes for Shug to leave and Celie is as sad as she was when Nettie left her.
Celie confides in Shug that Mr. _____ beats her when Shug is not there, so Shug tells Celie she will stay until she is sure that Celie is safe. In letter thirty-five, Celie and Shug have a conversation about sex.
Shug enjoys having sex with Mr. _____ and she does so almost every night, though she does not love him, she just has passion for him. When Celie tells her that she has never in her life enjoyed having sex, Shug proclaims her still a virgin and makes her look at her vagina in the mirror.
Celie tells Shug that she does not mind when Shug has sex with Mr. _____, though that is not true, but not because she is jealous of Shug, more likely because she is jealous of Mr. _____.
In letter thirty-six, Sofia returns and brings her new boyfriend, Buster with her. She tells Celie that she has had another child and then she meets Harpo and his girlfriend, Squeak. Squeak gets jealous when Harpo and Sofia dance together and calls her a bitch, causing Sofia to punch her in the face.
She then takes Buster and leaves. In letter thirty-seven, Celie tells Squeak that the reason Harpo is so upset lately is because Sofia has been arrested. She was asked to be the mayor’s maid, to which she replied “hell no” and was slapped by the mayor then beaten nearly lifeless by the police. Celie and Mr. _____ visit with Sofia to clean her up. Celie also tells Squeak that she should ask Harpo to call her by her real name, Mary Agnes.
In letter thirty-eight, Celie, Shug, Mr. _____ and Harpo visit Sofia in prison where they learn she is working in the laundry room and surviving by acting subservient and keeping her mouth shut. Sofia is sentenced to twelve years in prison and her children are looked after by her sister, Odessa, and Squeak.
In letter thirty-nine, everyone tries to think of a way to get Sofia out of prison, and Squeak realizes her uncle is the white warden of the prison. They decide to ask him if there is anything he can do to help Sofia. In letter forty, in an effort to get Sofia out of prison, they dress Squeak up like a white woman and send her to see the warden. She tells the warden that Sofia really loves being in prison, and it is not punishment for her at all, but working for a white family would be the worst punishment she could be given.
In letter forty-one, Warden Hodges notices that Squeak is, in fact, a Hodges but does not approve because she is mulatto. Squeak tries to explain to the warden that Sofia is not being punished being forced to do laundry but the warden is only interested in who Squeak’s family is.
The warden beats and rapes Squeak, and when she gets home and tells everyone what happens she finally tells Harpo to call her Mary Agnes. In letter forty-two, Mary Agnes decides that she wants to become a singer and starts to sing. Her voice is very high pitched and funny, almost like a cat’s meow.
At first everyone makes fun of it, but eventually they start to really enjoy her singing. In letter forty-three Sofia is released from jail and sentenced to twelve years serving the mayor’s family. The son is a terror and Celie cannot believe that Sofia has to look after him, but the daughter, Eleanor Jane is very sweet and loves Sofia.
In letter forty-four we learn that Sofia thinks her job with the mayor’s family is slavery, though their son tells her she is a captive, not a slave. Miss Millie, the mayor’s wife whom Sofia teaches to drive, allows Sofia to return home for Christmas for the first time since she started working for them five years prior.
Sofia only gets to stay with them for fifteen minutes as Miss Millie cannot back out of the driveway and will not allow a black man to drive her home, so Sofia needs to drive her. In letter forty-five Shug comes back to town, bringing with her a surprise that Mr. _____ is going to be a car for him because Shug is making a lot of money now.
Shug does bring a car, but it is one that she bought for herself as a wedding present, because her real surprise is her new husband, a man named Grady. Both Celie and Mr. _____ are devastated by this revelation.
In letter forty-six, Mr. _____ and Grady spend the holidays drinking while Celie and Shug chat and catch up on what they have missed. Shug is famous now and has a lot of money, and she tells Celie that Mr. _____ is only like a family member to her now; she has no romantic feelings for him.
Celie tells Shug that Mr. _____ does not beat her anymore, and he makes an effort to make sex enjoyable for her. She tells Shug that she is still a “virgin” in Shug’s eyes though because she has yet to have an orgasm or to enjoy sex at all.
In letter forty-seven, Celie finally tells Shug that her father molested her and her two children resulted from that incestuous relationship though her mother never knew. She tells Shug that no one has ever loved her, and Shug tells her that she loves her then kisses her right on the mouth and again on her breast, to which Celie is happy to reciprocate.
In letter forty-eight, Shug and Celie wake up next to each other, which Celie thinks is the best feeling she has ever had, while the men show up still drunk from the night before. Shug thinks that Mary Agnes should start signing in front of people, suggesting that the two of them sing together at Harpo’s one-night but Harpo refuses.
In letter forty-nine, Shug asks Celie about Nettie because Nettie is the only thing Celie ever loved, other than Shug. She tells Celie that she thinks she saw a letter from Nettie one day when Mr. _____ got the mail and thus the women are on a mission to find the hidden letters. In letter fifty, Shug gets close to Mr. _____ again, much to the chagrin of Celie and Grady, but she says it is just, so she can find out where the letters are.
Shug tells Celie all about her life and the reason she was attracted to Mr. _____ and how she can’t believe he has changed so much since she first met him.
In letter fifty-one, Celie and Shug find that Nettie’s letters are locked in Mr. _____’s trunk along with a pair of Shug’s underwear and some dirty photos. They decide that rather than take the entire letters, they will leave the envelopes, so he will not notice that they are missing.
In letter fifty-two, Nettie’s first letter tells Celie about when she left Albert’s house how he followed her and tried to rape her, but she hurt him and got away. Albert told Nettie that she and Celie would never hear from one another again.
Nettie ended up in the house of a missionary minister, and she noticed that his adopted daughter was really Celie’s biological daughter, Olivia. In letter fifty-three, Nettie tells Celie of the Minister, Samuel’s family, which consists of his wife, Corrine, and their adopted children, Adam and Olivia. They are very welcoming to her and very religious.
In letter fifty-four, Nettie writes her third letter to Celie and realizes that Celie is not getting any of them. She cannot find any work in town and thinks she may have to leave, leaving Celie behind.
Corrine and Samuel will be going to Africa to be missionaries, and Nettie does not want to leave them either. In letter fifty-five, Nettie’s fourth letter, she tells Celie that she is in Africa with Olivia and Adam and thinks they are wonderful people. She is learning a lot about African culture and shares her knowledge with Celie. She tells Celie that she is positive now that Adam and Olivia are Celie’s kids and tells her that they are being well taken care of.
In letter fifty-six, Nettie writes in her fifth letter to Celie about all of the pride she is developing in being a black person. She always felt her race was a disadvantage, but she is learning of many well-off black people that she never saw growing up, and Samuel tells her that, in Africa, they have an advantage over white people.
Nettie realizes all of the people in the Bible, including Jesus, were black. In letter fifty-seven, Nettie’s sixth letter, she tells Celie about Samuel who is the first kind black man she has ever met and how she thinks Corrine is lucky to have him. She tells Celie of all of the places she is travelling to and the nice people she is meeting and fills her in on all of the history she is learning about African Americans and slavery.
In letter fifty-eight, Nettie’s seventh letter to Celie, she tells of her first view of Africa and how lucky she felt to be seeing it with her own eyes. She tells Celie that the people in Africa are darker than any she has ever seen, but it is mostly run by white men who speak of the native Africans disparagingly. She notes many similarities between Africa and home.
In letter fifty-nine, Mr. _____ and Grady return and Celie is so mad at Albert for hiding her letters that she wants to kill him, though she listens to Shug when she tells her not to. She asks Shug to convince Albert to allow them to share a bed for the rest of the time she is visiting, and Shug does.
Letter sixty brings a very grievous and angry Celie who sleeps next to Shug but they do not get intimate because of the way Celie is feeling. She has no desire, even for Shug. Shug and Celie buy some fabric to make Celie some pants to make working in the fields easier for her.
In letter sixty-one Celie is excited that her sister is still alive and begins to daydream about running off with Nettie and Adam and Olivia. She reads Nettie’s next letter where she describes the Olinka Village they visit, where the village people are very surprised that the missionaries are black.
The villagers tell the missionaries about the history of their village and why they worship rootleaf. The villagers point out that the kids look like Nettie rather than Corrine. In letter sixty-two, Nettie tells Celie of Olivia and how smart she is. The Olinka people do not believe in educating females because to them a woman’s only job is to marry and have children.
Olivia is the only girl in school, but when she leaves school she teaches everything she learns to her Olinka friend, Tashi. The village women joke with Olivia that she will become the chief’s youngest wife, which they think is an honor, but Olivia does not think so. The villagers think that Nettie is Samuel’s second wife, and this infuriates Corrine who immediately starts getting jealous.
In letter sixty-three, Nettie tells Celie that Tashi’s parents are getting very upset that Tashi shows no interest in learning the women’s role in life in the Olinka tribe, because Nettie knows she is learning about the real world from Olivia.
Tashi’s parents, especially her father who reminds Nettie of Pa, do not respect Nettie because she is a single, independent woman with different morals than their own, and do not like the missionaries. They do not want Tashi spending time with them, but would like Olivia to come to their place, so they can teach her how to be an Olinka woman.
In letter sixty-four, Nettie tells Celie that she and Corrine are not friends anymore because Corrine thinks that Nettie and Samuel have feelings for one another, especially with Samuel’s new interest in the dynamic of polygamous relationships. Tashi’s father dies, and her mother now encourages her to get an education outside of the tribe.
In letter sixty-five, Nettie tells Celie that the Olinka Village is being destroyed by an English rubber company that is building a road through town, tearing down their buildings, charging villagers rent, and tax their water.
As Corrine gets very sick with a fever, women of the Olinka tribe begin to encourage their daughters to get an education. In letter sixty-six, Nettie tells Celie that Corrine is very sick still and has taken to resenting Nettie more than ever, believing that Adam and Olivia are Nettie and Samuel’s children from before Corrine came along. She makes them both swear this is not the case and examines Nettie’s body to see if it looks like she has given birth before.
Corrine resents her children and treats them poorly, which they do not understand as they are not aware they are adopted. In letter sixty-seven, Nettie tells Celie of how she learned the truth about their Pa and the children from Samuel.
Samuel tells them that he got the children from Pa, whom he knew before he became religious and that he was their stepfather and their real father had been lynched by white men. Samuel believed when he met Nettie that he was the children’s birth mother, which is why he took her in.
In letter sixty-eight, Celie is completely flabbergasted, and her world is turned around with this new information from Nettie. All these years she believed her children were incest, but it turns out that the man she believed to be her father was not.
Shug tells Celie that the two of them are going to move to Tennessee together. In letter sixty-nine Celie writes to Nettie, instead of God, for the first time as she will continue to do. She tells Nettie that she and Shug went to visit Pa and she told him that she knows the truth.
Pa has a new fifteen-year-old wife who thinks he is wonderful, and no children as his second wife ran off with them. Celie looks for her parent’s graves, cannot find them, and decides that Shug is her family now.
In letter seventy, Nettie tells Celie that Corrine is dying. Nettie tells Corrine the truth about the children, but she still believes that Nettie and Samuel are lying to her.
In letter seventy-one, Nettie tells Celie that she tries very hard to get Corrine to remember the time, man years ago, when Celie ran into Corrine and Olivia in a fabric store. Corrine does not remember so Nettie brings out a quilt and asks Corrine if she remembers where she got the fabric.
Corrine finally remembers, thinking Olivia and Celie had looked so much alike she wanted to forget about her as quickly as possible before she tried to take Olivia back. As Corrine is dying, she tells Samuel that she believes him and Nettie, finally.
In letter seventy-two, Nettie tells Celie that Olivia has gotten her period, and they buried Corrine in the traditional Olinka manner. Samuel gives Nettie Corrine’s old clothing because she is in need of new clothing and he asks her to tell him about Celie.
In letter seventy-three, Celie tells Nettie about her and Shug’s talks about God. Celie feels like God has given her a raw deal in life and sees him as an old white man. Shug tells her that God is gender-less and can be found inside each person, rather than in a church, and God gives people things to make them happy in the midst of struggle, like “the color purple”.
Celie feels slightly foolish for being so bitter and tries to see life with more positive eyes. In letter seventy-four, Sofia finally returns home after working for the mayor for over eleven years, and feels like there is no place for her in her family because her kids do not really remember her and Harpo has been in a relationship with Mary Agnes for as long as Sofia has been gone.
Shug tells everyone that she, Grady, and Celie will be moving to Tennessee and Mr. _____ cannot believe his ears. Celie unleashes on him and tells him what she really thinks of him for abusing her and keeping Nettie from her.
The women all begin to laugh at the men who do not understand what is happening as secrets are thrown around and Mary Agnes decides to go to Tennessee as well to become a singer. Sofia agrees to look after her child and take care of Harpo.
In letter seventy-five, Mr. _____ tells Celie that Shug is pretty and that is why people like her and Celie is not. Celie confronts Mr. _____ about hiding her letters, and he is shocked. She curses at him numerous times, tells him that she will not speak to him again until he changes his ways, and she, Shug, Grady, and Mary Agnes leave for Memphis.
In letter seventy-six, Celie gets to Shug’s house and comments on how lovely and rich it is. When Shug goes on the road to sing, Celie begins making pants for everyone she knows, and it becomes her passion and her business. She makes a pair to send to Nettie in Africa.
In letter seventy-seven, Celie proclaims that she is finally happy for the first time in her life. Her pants business is doing so well that she has hired twins named Darlene and Jerene to work with her.
Darlene tries to teach Celie to speak properly because she thinks Shug will be more proud of her if she does, but Shug says she does not care how Celie speaks, she could speak sign language, and it would be okay.
In letter seventy-eight, Celie tells of her visit back home where people do not recognize her because she has changed so much. She introduces Sofia and Harpo to weed, which Grady grows and sells and Mary Agnes has become quite fond of.
They all get stoned together. Celie sees Mr. _____ at Sofia’s mother’s funeral and is informed by Sofia that he has changed quite a bit. He does housework now and has become much kinder. Sofia says he almost died from being sick with guilt about what he did to Celie, but he got better when he sent Celie the rest of Nettie’s letters.
Celie has a conversation with Mr. _____ and is surprised at how kind he is to her. In letter eighty, Nettie tells Celie that she and Samuel have married, and, with the kids, they are leaving Africa, having felt as though they failed the Olinka’s because the village is basically depleted.
Adam is sad, and they learn that it is because he is worried about Tashi who has been left behind and plans to go through the traditional African mutilation and female circumcision. Nettie decides to tell Adam and Olivia about Celie.
In letter eighty-one, Nettie tells Celie that they returned to the Olinka village to let them know that the missionary society they visited in England would not help the Olinka’s, which the villagers are disappointed about.
They learn that while they were gone Tashi had undergone her mutilations, and they know that Adam will be very upset about it. Tashi is ashamed at the scars on her face, but she knows that her village is proud of her for following tradition in an effort to keep their culture going.
Adam really wants to return to America, but Nettie and Samuel are very happy with their marriage and life at this point. In letter eighty-two, Celie informs Nettie that Alphonso (“Pa”) died in his sleep.
Daisy, Pa’s widow, tells Celie that her and Nettie own Pa’s house and store because they had actually belonged to their birth father, but they were never informed of this before. At first Celie does not want anything he has left her but Shug convinces her to take the stuff and sell her pants in the store.
Celie finds that the house she is inheriting is a nice new house, rather than the one she grew up in and is happy to have a place to call home for herself and Nettie’s family when they return.
In letter eighty-three, Celie goes back to Nashville and Shug tells her that she is leaving her for a nineteen year old boy who plays in her backup band and goes into way too much detail about him. She realizes Celie is hurting, and she cries.
Shug does not understand why she is jealous now but was never jealous of Grady (who is now running a weed plantation in Panama with Mary Agnes), and Celie tells her it is because Grady was dull. Celie is heartbroken and stops speaking, instead writing down her answers to Shug’s questions.
Shug does not understand why Celie is so upset and Celie decides that although she loves Shug she cannot stay at her home anymore. In letter eighty-four, Henrietta, the youngest child of Sofia’s, is very sick with a blood disease and everyone tries to treat it with yams, which they mix in to everything she eats although she hates them.
Mr. _____ is becoming very sensitive and collects seashells. He asks Celie the first question he has ever asked her about herself, if there is anything she likes the way he likes seashells. She tells him that she likes birds. He apologizes for the way he treated her, and she cries. She tells him that men are all the same to her, they are all frogs no matter how you kiss them.
In letter eighty-five, Celie finds out via telegram that Nettie and Samuel were on a boat that sunk on its way to America. Celie gets all of the letters back that she had sent to Nettie and begins to be very depressed about losing her sister, after thinking she had finally gotten her back.
Letter eighty-six is from Nettie, telling Celie that Adam and Olivia are very upset to have lost their friend, Tashi, who has joined the mbeles tribe with her mother. Apparently, anyone who joins the mbeles tribe never comes back alive.
Nettie comments that is has been thirty years since she and her sister have shared a word between them. She worries about how Celie has held up with Mr. _____ and how the children will adapt to life back in America. She says that Adam has gone after Tashi.
Letter eighty-seven is Celie worrying about her own image, feeling uncomfortable in her own skin and musing over why Shug does not want her. Celie and Mr. _____ bond over Shug leaving because he knows what it feels like.
Eleanor Jane, the mayor’s daughter who is fond of Sofia, visits Sofia with her new husband and new baby and is upset when Sofia refuses to say nice things about the baby. Sofia explains to Eleanor Jane that she was treated very poorly by her family and will never respect a white person.
Mr. _____ begins to ask Celie many things about her life, and her children and they become friends. Celie continues to get letters from Nettie, even after she has died.
In letter eighty-eight, Nettie tells Celie that Adam and Tashi returned together and were fighting because Adam wants to marry her and she does not want to marry him. She believes that once they get to the U.S. he will fall for a woman with lighter skin.
Adam goes through the same scarring ritual that Tashi went through and honored by his commitment she agrees to marry him. They then set out for America. In letter eighty-nine, Shug tries to help Celie to find out about Nettie’s boat, but they can find nothing.
Eleanor Jane found out the story about how Sofia began working for them and felt terrible, forming a new friendship with Sofia. Celie and Mr. _____ have deep discussions about the meaning of life, and it is obvious that he is a changed man.
Shug finally returns to Celie, where she has her own bedroom, having left her young boyfriend, and she is jealous of what Albert and Celie may have been doing in her absence. Letter ninety, the final letter, is addressed to God thanking him for bringing Nettie back to Celie. She and Mr. _____ were sitting on the porch one day and saw a family get out of a car, and she realized it was her sister whom she had not seen in many years.
They have a family reunion, even being joined by Mary Agnes who has left Grady, and they comment on how old they all have gotten. Celie believes this is the youngest any of them has ever felt.
“This has always been your body”
Wang-mu and Peter sit with Grace and Malu reflecting on what’s happened. Malu tells them that Jane has found a temporary home among the network of the Pequenino Mothertrees, but that she can’t stay there forever. She needs to have a body of her own to ground her permanently.
Peter tells them that up until the moment Jane entered his body, he was sure that he would be willing to let her have it. Feeling her aiua in him, though, he was suddenly terrified and found a powerful desire to live. “I found out, with her chasing me around, that Malu was right, I don’t hate my life, I want very much to live.” Peter isn’t alone in his desire to live. He, Val and Ender; the three bodies controlled by Ender’s aiua are all clinging to life. Until one of the three bodies is willing to let go and die, Jane won’t be able to find a permanent home.
It all depends on Ender. Though his own body is the weakest at the moment, his clinging to life is what’s holding back the entire process. He ultimately controls the will of aiua. If he lets go and dies, then his aiua will begin to shift away. If Val too is willing to let go, it might be possible for Ender’s entire aiua to flow into Peter. This would make him a whole person while leaving Val’s body empty for Jane to inhabit. It all comes down to who wants to live more. If Val has a heftier claim on her life, then it could be Peter who’s left open for Jane when Ender dies.
On the faster-then-light ship, Miro, Ela, Quara and Val are listening to Olhado detail what’s going on back on Lusitania. He tells them that the Hive Queen has said the situation is stable for the moment, but unsustainable. Jane’s aiua is presently able to share the Mothertrees bodies with their own aiua, but eventually she’ll overpower them simply by being there. She needs her own body.
He also tells them that the Hive Queen believes that once Jane has her own body, she’ll likely still be able to access the Ansible network, once it’s restored by the Starways Congress. If this can be done, she’ll again be able to act as a conduit for faster-then-light travel. Until then, however, Miro and his companions are trapped in orbit above the Descoladores’ planet. Their ship has no propulsion of its own and, with limited supplies, it’s just a matter of time until they die from lack of air.
Miro knows that much rests on Val. With Peter resistant to Jane’s aiua, Val’s is the only body that can serve as a permanent home for Jane. Val, however, thanks in large part to Miro’s affection for her, has established her own desire to live which complicates matters. Miro, in turn, finds that where he had once been confident that Jane and Val would both retain their personalities when Jane took over Val’s body, he’s suddenly scared that that won’t be the case. Thinking about it hypothetically is one thing, but facing the real possibility of losing Val utterly terrifies him.
“I don’t to lose you.” He tells her. Val reminds him that this is what he wanted before. “Walk the walk. Talk the talk. Put up or shut up. Fish or cut the bait.” The only thing giving Val the will to cling to life is her perception that Miro needs and loves her. If he can convince her that this isn’t the case, she might be able to let go so that when Ender dies her portion of his aiua will go to Peter and leave her body empty for Jane. He has to make her believe that he doesn’t care what happens to her.
Though he hates himself for it, Miro begins telling Val that she means nothing to him. That she’s worthless.” Don’t you understand that the only conceivable value that you have to any of us is if you just go away?” Though she wanted Miro to say these things, Val nonetheless weeps to hear him say them. “I will never forgive myself for saying these things.” Thinks Miro, continuing nonetheless. His cruelty works; Val loses her will to live.
On Lusitania Ender wakes up for a moment. Seeing Novinha, he tells her that he’s not going to leave her. “I keep my promise.” He tells her. Novinha tells him that she loves him and will miss him but that she doesn’t need him anymore the way she once did. She tells him that though he is ready to leave this life behind, his aiua still has things it wants and needs to do. She releases him from any sense of duty he might feel toward her.
Free from his sense of obligation, Ender closes his eyes as if to fall asleep. His body almost instantly begins to dissolve away, fading into nothingness. When it’s gone, Valentine gathers up what little remains for them to bury. Novinha, despite having released Ender, is still filled with sorrow at his passing. The Hive Queen and Human, sensing Ender’s death wait and watch to see what happens.
Jane decides that it’s time to leave the network of the Mothertrees. As she leaves, however, she senses Ender’s aiua drifting away. She recognizes that his body is gone now, leaving just the Peter and Val.
Jane guides his aiua to Val’s body, but upon arriving at it, they find Val filled with regret and sorrow. She has no will to live and so Ender’s aiua retreats from it. Jane leads him instead to Peter’s body. She helps Ender’s aiua to settle itself inside Peter and then returns herself to Val’s body, which is now empty. Peter, imbued with all of Ender’s aiua, is now a whole person. Jane, in turn, takes over Val’s emptied body. For the first time, she sees Miro through human eyes and marvels at the sensation of living in a flesh and blood body.
“Val?” Miro asks. Jane tells him that Val is gone. She hasn’t died, but her portion of Ender’s aiua is now with Peter to make him whole. Peter is saddened by losing Val and Jane tries to comfort him in her embrace.
“You call me back from the darkness.”
On the planet Divine Wind, Hikari pays a visit to one of his former students, a prominent businessman named Yasujiro. Yasujiro is happy and honored to see his old teacher, but is shocked when Hikari asks him to use his connections to try and influence the politicians of the Starways Congress to stop the progress of the Lusitania fleet. “If the Molecular Disruption Device is used against one world,” says Hikari. “It will be used against another.” Yasujiro is initially resistant to putting his fortune and family name on the line, but decides out of respect to Hikari’s wisdom and knowledge to help.
In orbit above the Descaladores’ planet, Jane is still holding Miro. Though she doesn’t want to seem unkind, Ela reminds them of the urgency of their work. They return to work trying to decipher the Descaladores’ language while Jane continues to grow accustomed to Val’s body. She has many of Val’s memories, which help her reflexively know how to use her body.
The Hive Queen contacts Jane, speaking to her mind. Though Jane is happy to hear from the Hive Queen, she finds that she has yet to master the emotional responses of her new body. The Hive Queen praises her for the way she handled the stress of finding her new body after the Ansible shutdown and Jane in turn beams with pride. When the Hive Queen seems disinterested in her, though, Jane feels sorrow and disappointment that she knows is out of proportion to what’s happening. The Hive Queen sensing that Jane is still having trouble adapting to the emotional turmoil of a human body offers to give her time to adjust and retreats from their connection, much to Jane’s relief.
Peter finds himself having similar problems. Though he’s already accustomed to a human body, the presence of Ender’s aiua in its entirety has come with its own changes. He finds himself no longer as abrasive as he used to be, and many of his nastier qualities have been toned down. He’s kinder to Wang-mu, who in turn is becoming more comfortable and open with her affection toward Peter. They rest together for a time as Peter contemplates the changes that have taken place in his life.
Plikt sits in her room writing a eulogy to speak at Ender’s funeral. Her entire life she has dreamt of serving as the Speaker at Ender’s funeral. As she approaches the moment of doing this, however, she finds that she’s filled with sorrow instead of joy. In reflection, Ender’s life touched so many lives –for good and ill- and affected so much of history. As she writes, all she hopes for is that she can do him justice.
“Am I betraying Ender?”
On the faster-then-light ship, Miro, Quara, Ela and Val continue trying to decipher the Descoladores language. It’s slow going. They know the Descoladores communicate by transmitting molecules, but they don’t know what any of the molecules mean. The only context they have is their knowledge of the Descolada and the way that the virus communicates. Quara suggests sending some of their information on the Descolada to the Descoladores and then see if they respond with anything familiar.
“Too dangerous.” Says Jane. “You’re suggesting we give to them precisely the weapon they used to devastate the Pequeninos planet…why not just slit our own throats and send them the blood?” Miro reminds her that they don’t have much time to figure this out. Their air will run out in only a few weeks. “We’re giving away too much.” Insists Jane, much to Quara’s annoyance. Jane tells that whatever benefits there might be to sending the Descoladores this information, they might also be giving them intelligence that they couldn’t get any other way.
With no other options, though, they decide to go ahead and send the information, so they can analyze what the Descalodores send back in response. “If we’re even on the right track.” Says Miro. Quara scolds him for being negative. “Can’t we all just get along.” Teases Jane. Quara snaps back at Jane. “Stay out of family conversations, do you hear?” Miro tries to argue back, but Jane silences her. “[Quara] you are quite brilliant and very good at what you do… but you are not smart enough… to make it worth putting up with more than fifteen seconds of the egregious bullshit you heap on you and everyone else.” Jane tells Quara that if she continues to behave abrasively, that Jane might develop a negative attitude toward her that could make it difficult to bring her back to Lusitania if she regains her ability to perform faster-then-light travel.
Quara takes this as a threat. “I would never kill you.” Corrects Jane. “[But] the thought of you might be so unendurable that my unconscious mind would reject that thought and exclude you.” Quara continues to rant angrily against Jane until Jane finally leaves them room. Miro follows and finds her weeping in another compartment of the ship. Miro realizes that she’s crying out of anger. She’s had no experience dealing with human emotions first hand and, now that she has a body of her own, she’s having trouble coping with the emotional stresses of it.
“It was so simple before I felt these things.” Miro tells her that all people have the same difficulties and that she just needs time to accustom herself to dealing with her feelings. “Quara never learned.” Says Jane. Miro tells her that Quara’s behavior is likely a result of the abusive household they grew up in. Before Ender married Novinha, she was married to an abusive man who routinely assaulted her. Quara grew up watching the two of them fight and, wanting her father’s attention, adopted a goading personality out of the subconscious hope that someone would treat her similarly.
Discussing Miro’s family life prompts Jane to start crying even harder. She tells Miro that she misses Ender who, in addition to being her closest companion for the majority of her life, was also much like a father to her. Miro is sad to realize that to an extent Jane will always care for Ender for than she does for him. Jane tells him to think of it as he thinks of Quara’s need for her own, long dead father. “I don’t want you to be my father she says.”
Jane kisses Miro and tells him that she loves him. “I want to be human, Miro, I want to do everything. I want to be part of human life from edge to edge. And I want do it all with you.” Jane asks Miro if he’d like to get married, and though Miro says they should keep it to themselves for the moment, he agrees. They rejoin Quara and Ela in the main part of the ship and continue their research.
“Till death ends all surprises”
Peter and Wang-mu join Grace and Malu on a tour of a nearby university where Malu’s followers, per Jane’s instructions, have spent the past weeks saving essential parts of her computer self to be uploaded back to the Ansible network once it’s restored. Their hope is that the programs will eventually spread across the entirety of the network, and that Jane will in turn be able to reconnect and reclaim control of the Ansible as she did before.
If Jane can’t reconnect to the Ansible, there’s a decent chance that her aiua will never again have the strength it needs to perform faster-then-light travel again. Though the prime importance of this at present is to save Miro, Ela, Quara and Jane herself from dying in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet, Wang-mu and Peter both have a stake in it as well. Neither of them wants to live out their life on the planet Pacifica, and without faster-then-light travel, they’ll be forced to rely on relative space travel, which will cause decades to pass them by every time they travel.
They’re shown to the computers storing Jane’s essentially parts. Though the Ansible network is still shut down, the Ansible of Pacifica is being used to form a smaller, contained network that will serve as the foundation of Jane’s digital restoration. They begin uploading the necessary files to this new network. “How will we know if all of this has worked?” Asks Wang-mu. “Peter will tell us,” replies Grace. If their plan is successful, Jane should be able to communicate to him again through the implant he wears.
On Lusitania Grego and Olhado are waiting in an open field. The faster-then-light ship is supposed to be returning from the Descoladores’ planet soon, if Jane’s aiua can find the strength to move it again. The network on Pacifica goes online and they wait to see if the ship will return.
Aboard the faster-then-light ship, they have sent out a message to the Descoladores and received a reply. As they try to analyze it, they receive a message from Pacifica. Recognizing this to mean that her digital parts have been restored to the makeshift network there, Jane decides to try and transport them back to Lusitania. She sits back in a chair and seems to pass out. Miro knows this to mean that she’s left her body and that her aiua is trying to take them home. He holds her hand and sits with her to wait and see what happens.
Jane’s aiua travels the philotic network and makes its way to the network Malu and his followers have set up for her on Pacifica. It is leagues smaller than the network she’s used to, and she worries that she won’t be able to move the faster-then-light ship with so little to work with. She tells her allies on Pacifica that they have been successful in their efforts and sets herself to her own task.
Knowing the Pacifica network lacks the space she’ll need to move the ship, she begins looking for more. As she searches, she realizes the Mothertrees might be able to provide the space she needs. Their bodies are massive and their aiua small. She connects herself to the network of the Mothertrees and moves the faster-then-light ship back to Lusitania. On Pacifica, Malu can sense that she’s been successful and rejoices. Wang-mu and Peter join in the happiness. With faster-then-light travel possible again they’ll be able to travel as they want.
Aboard the faster-then-light ship, Quara begins to panic. “We’re cut off!” She declares. “I was getting [the Descoladores’] broadcasts and suddenly now there’s nothing!” Miro realizes that the messages have stopped because they’re no longer in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet. Jane has returned them home.
Jane wakes up. “You did it.” Miro tells her. “And rather easily.” She replies. “After all that worry.” Quara, realizing what’s happened is angry. “How dare you do it without so much as a warning!” Miro realizes that Quara is angry because of Jane’s earlier warning that she might be left behind. She was scared and her anger is in part her expressing her relief at not having died. They leave the ship and Jane marvels at the sights and sounds, this being the first time she’s seen a planet through human eyes.
“How they communicate with animals.”
The fleet bound for Lusitania has almost arrived. Aboard the fleet’s flagship its commanding officer, Admiral Bobby Lands, contemplates what’s about to happen. He has no desire to destroy Lusitania, the Pequeninos or the people living there but recognizes the danger of the Descolada and knows that he must follow his orders even if it means a second Xenocide and himself being remembered by a monster throughout history.
Throughout the Hundreds World, the Ansible is reconnected, albeit in a limited fashion that prevents Jane from inhabiting wholly. On Divine Wind, Yasujiro uses this as an opportunity to contact his family members and business associates to relay to them what Hikari has told him about the moral evil of the impending destruction of Lusitania.
As Yasujiro waits for a response, he can’t help but contemplate the consequences of these messages, should his family and associates not agree with what Hikari has said. His life and career will be effectively ended. To his relief, the head of his family replies with a message affirming their support of Hikari’s viewpoint and tells him that already their agents are contacting the Necessarian members of the Starways Congress to try and turn their support away from destroying Lusitania. With support for the act already shallow, there’s a decent chance they’ll succeed.
On Lusitania, their sensors pick up the fleet slowing down from relativistic speeds. As the fleet draws near the last remnants of the colonists flee to the last remaining spaceships on the planet’s surface. The Pequeninos and the Buggers do no such thing. For the Pequeninos, there is no life without their forests and the Hive Queen can’t bear to leave her friends among the Fathertrees. She resolves herself to face the coming doom as her ancestors did when Ender destroyed their homeworld three thousand years before.
Jane, having regained her ability to transport objects at faster-then-light speeds begins removing the ships with the human colonists. Before she will remove anyone else, she insists on evacuating Novinha and her family as well as Valentine and her children. The object to the specific treatment but Jane insists. “I will not stand by and let you be killed when I have it in my power to save [Ender’s family].” Miro, Ela and Quara are returning to the Descoladores’ planet to continue their research. Jane forces the rest of the family to join them and along with herself, teleports them away. She then begins evacuating the other colonists.
With their ship back in orbit over the Descoladores’ world Miro, Ela and Quara set back to their research as best they can. With Lusitania’s potential destruction about to occur they find it difficult to concentrate but do the best that they can. As they examine the message they received from the Descoladores, they realize that it’s a molecule. The molecule is designed in such a way that if it were absorbed into a human body, it would incapacitate them.
They realize that the messages they’re receiving aren’t communication; they’re biological commands meant to manipulate their bodies and bend them to the will of the Descoladores. This doesn’t bode well for communicating with them. For one, they have no way of knowing how to send any useful sort of information in the form of a molecule and likewise, the contents of the molecule the Descoladores sent them suggests that they may be hostile. Ela suggests communicating to them aiua to aiua via Jane. “Maybe Jane can find some way to connect to them philotically.” Miro agrees it’s a possibility but tells her that it will have to wait. Jane’s attention is utterly consumed by the task of evacuating Lusitania.
Aboard the fleet Admiral Lands has received a message from the Congress. At the last minute, many of their members decided to change their minds and vote against destroying Lusitania. “You are not authorized to use the Molecular Disruption Device.” Lands can’t believe what he’s hearing or understand why Congress, without the benefit of any new information, would change their mind. As far as they know, Lusitania is still a threat to human life. Despite his new orders, Lands decides to attack the planet anyways and launches the M.D. device. With that done he surrenders himself to his second in command and they wait for the missile to reach the planet.
“We’re giving you a second chance”
A satellite orbiting Lusitania detects the launch of the M.D. device and relays the information to the faster-then-light ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet. Jane can’t believe it. “Congress voted to establish a quarantine and specifically denied the fleet authority to launch the M.D. device.” She tells them. Miro tells her that they have at most half an hour before the M.D. device destroys Lusitania. He suggests she use her faster-then-light ability to move it to the philote realm and leave it there. She tells him that there’s no knowing what kind of damage the M.D. device could do there. “Besides. I can’t pick things up that I haven’t had a chance to examine.” She’s never seen or touched the M.D. device so she can’t move it. Miro asks if Peter still wears an implant to speak with her.
On Pacifica Jane tells Peter that the fleet has launched the M.D. device. Peter isn’t sure what to do but asks Jane to take him back to Lusitania. Wang-mu insists on going too. Their ship is too far away, so Jane transports their bodies without it. Jane sends them to the starport on Lusitania. Seeing the ships, Peter gets an idea. He and Wang-mu board a ship. He then has Jane track the M.D. device and then teleports their ship so that it’s travelling at the same speed, with the M.D. device inside it. With the missile inside the ship, Peter touches it, allowing Jane to examine and memorize its form.
Jane then teleports the M.D. device back onto Admiral Lands’ ship. She sends Peter and Wang-mu as well. They’re almost immediately confronted by Lands and his second in commander who are horrified to see the active M.D. device aboard their ship. They deactivate the missile as Peter explains what’s going on. He tells them that the Descolada is no longer a threat and that the Pequeninos along with having learned how to use much of human technology are now allied with a third alien race: the resurrected Buggers.
Peter tells Lands that had he succeeded in destroying Lusitania he would have been wiping out not just the Pequeninos, but also the Buggers. Lands is horrified. “I thought it was the right thing.” Peter tells him that he should think of this as a second chance to redeem the mistake he almost made. Peter tells them that the Lusitanians have also discovered faster-then-light travel, which is what allowed them to move the M.D. device back onto Lands’ ship. He says that if Congress wants access to this new technology, they will restore the Ansible network to its former form and allow Jane unlimited access to it. Lands agrees to inform Congress of what’s happened.
With that situation corrected, Peter and Wang-mu teleport to the ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet where Wang-mu introduces herself to everyone.
“How do you know they aren’t quivering in terror”
Aboard the faster-then-light ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet, the group is discussing what to do about the Descoladores. Though they haven’t been studying this new race long, all signs point to them being an entity that humanity, the Pequeninos and the Buggers won’t be able to communicate with. More troubling is the fact that their messages are made up of molecules designed to incapacitate human beings, which hints at unfriendly intentions.
Quara says that they may have to destroy the Descoladores if they prove hostile. Just weeks earlier Quara had been staunchly against destroying the Descolada on account of her belief that the virus might be a sentient race. Her sudden support of violence against another race surprises her friends and family to no small degree. “You’re thinking of blowing up a world populated by a sentient race?” Asks Wang-mu.
Quara explains that she only suggests this as a last resort and that she believes they need to study the Descoladores further. Miro takes it further, suggesting that they should study them until they find a way communicate with them and never give up on it. “We can keep a fleet watching this planet.” Suggests Peter. “For centuries. For millennia. There’s no hurry.” Says Peter. “I think that’s dangerous.” Replies Quara.
Peter, frustrated with her attitude, tells her that she’s just acting on her impatience to see the situation resolved. “You are not part of this project.” Quara tells him. Peter tells her that if this is the attitude she’s going to have, then he will have Jane bring her back to Lusitania and make sure she never goes near the Descoladores again. This enrages Quara.
Jane returns their ship to Lusitania and they all depart to enjoy the planet, now free of an impending doom for the first time in decades. Quara, however, remains on the ship, sullen. Wang-mu decides to speak with her, to try and calm her anger. Quara tells her to leave, but Wang-mu refuses. Quara continues to be abrasive and insulting, but Wang-mu continues to talk with her. As they converse, Wang-mu recognizes that in a way Quara has allowed herself to become a form of varelse. She’s made herself into an alien, unable to properly communicate with the people around her. Wang-mu resolves herself to break through Quara’s anger and help her through the issues that have plagues her through her life.
“The road goes on without him now”
With the various crisis’s threatening Lusitania resolved, a funeral is held to mourn Ender’s death. Plikt serves as a Speaker for him, reciting the story of his life before an audience of humans and Pequeninos. There’s even a Bugger present to serve as eyes for the Hive Queen. As Valentine watches, she remembers her life with Ender, his trials and tribulations and the guilt he suffered for his part in the destruction of the Buggers. Seeing the various species sitting together, though, she believes that for all the harm that Ender may have done in his life he may have managed to do even more good.
After Ender’s funeral Valentine, along with her friends and family journeys out to the Pequenino forest that neighbors Milagre. Under the shadow of the new Mothertree, a priest marries Miro and Jane and Peter and Wang-mu. With the ceremony finished, they say their good-byes and teleport away to start new journeys.
Katniss knows that Cinna has placed himself in a world of trouble by making this statement and she silently appreciates him but worries about him all the same. The crowd is beside themselves with sadness over the fact that Katniss and Peeta will never be able to get married as one of them will soon die but Peeta surprises the audience by telling them that he and Katniss are already married in their minds.
Peeta says that they performed a traditional marriage ceremony in District 12, though it is not legally binding; then he shares with the audience that Katniss is pregnant with his child, which catches Katniss by surprise. At the end of the interviews the tributes all take stage together, and, as a symbol of unity, they all join hands before the audience. The Capitol is outraged as this show of solidarity and sends everyone home who is not directly involved in the games.
The next morning Cinna dresses Katniss for her second turn in the Games and puts her into the tube that will bring her to the arena. The tube closes, but Katniss is not sent up to the arena right away, instead she is stuck watching as Cinna is beaten and dragged away by peacekeepers. Katniss is send up into the tube, in total shock, and finds herself in the middle of a huge body of water; the message to Katniss seems clear, a “girl on fire” cannot survive in water.
Katniss realizes that each tribute is standing on a platform in the water and must swim to a land arm that connects to the cornucopia; Katniss feels fortunate that she knows how to swim because she is sure that many tributes do not. When Katniss arrives at the cornucopia she finds that Finnick is the only other one there, but he seems to be wearing a gold bracelet just like the one she saw Haymitch wearing so she thinks he is supposed to be her ally, though she does not trust him.
Finnick saves Katniss from the District 5 man, and she takes the opportunity to take a bow and arrows from the stockpile of supplies. Katniss works with Finnick to fend off some of the other tributes. They soon realize that the cornucopia has nothing but weapons, no survival supplies, so they take as many weapons as they can.
Katniss sees Peeta still standing on his platform because he does not know how to swim so Finnick goes to rescue him and then gets Mags and the four of them quickly retreat. Katniss climbs a tree to check out the situation and sees that several tributes have died at the cornucopia. They decide to look for fresh water, but as they are walking Peeta walks straight into a force field and falls to the ground.
Peeta’s heart has stopped beating so Finnick performs some sort of strange act of breathing into Peeta’s lungs (CPR, though Katniss has does not know what it is called) to bring him back to life as Katniss screams and begs for him to come back to her.
After Finnick saves Peeta they decide they must find water now, especially because Peeta is weakened. Finnick asks Katniss how she knew a force field was there because he saw that she was about to yell before Peeta ran into it, and she tells them that she can hear the electricity with the ear that the Capitol fixed for her after the last Games; this is not true though, Katniss learned how to see force fields from Beetee.
They walk the perimeter of the force field, and find no water so they take the slope downward and decide to make camp for the night.Katniss goes out on her own and sees an animal in a tree that looks like a rat, and his mouth is wet; Katniss knows there must be water somewhere. Finnick and Mags have created a shelter for the four of them, and Katniss gives Peeta the rat creature she killed to cook for dinner.
That night eight faces are shown in the sky and Katniss realizes there are only eight of them left in the arena. Katniss gets a gift from a sponsor, and it is recognized as a spile; Katniss realizes she has to tap the trees for water and it works. As Katniss keeps watch that night, she hears a loud gong sound go off twelve times and struggles with what it could mean. Soon a fog comes over their camp that makes Katniss’ skin blister.
As Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and Mags all run from the fog they realize that not only is it blistering their skin but it is also taking control of their nerves, making it difficult to have control over their bodies.Peeta and Mags are affected the worst, and cannot walk for themselves so Finnick carries Peeta and Katniss tries to carry Mags. Katniss cannot hold Mags for very long and Finnick knows he cannot carry both, which he tells Mags; to Katniss’ shock Mags gives Finnick a kiss on the cheek and runs into the fog, killing herself. As the three stumble to the water’s edge to escape, the fog Katniss realizes that the salt water greatly soothes her blisters and she shares this information with Peeta.
The two of them have to drag Finnick into the water because he is hurt worse than they are and cannot move for himself. Peeta goes to tap a tree and Katniss realizes that the monkeys in the trees seem to be congregating together, and staring down at them. Katniss calls to Peeta but as soon as he moves the monkeys attack. Katniss uses all her arrows and asks Peeta to throw her more, and he drops his knife in the process. Unarmed, Peeta is nearly attacked by a monkey but the girl from District 6 jumps in between Peeta and the monkey, saving him and badly injuring herself.
As the monkeys retreat, Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick try to help the girl who saved Peeta, but her wounds are too severe and they just keep her company and hold her hand while she dies. Katniss offers to keep watch so Finnick can rest that night, but he refuses, insisting that she sleep and Katniss can tell that Finnick wants some time to be alone so he can grieve for the loss of Mags.
In the morning, Katniss’ blisters itch terribly so she asks for Haymitch to send her something and only moments later she receives some tar ointment that looks atrocious but soothes the itching. Finnick catches some shellfish for breakfast, and the trio sees three other people stumbling out of the woods coughing; Katniss recognizes them as Johanna Mason from District 7 and Beetee and Wiress. Johanna seems to dislike Katniss and tells her that she only saved Beetee and Wiress for her, which Katniss does not understand. Beetee has injuries that Katniss attends to and Wiress keeps babbling incoherently “tick, tock, tick, tock”.
That night Katniss sees the lightning accompanied by twelve gongs sounds again and realizes what Wiress is trying to tell them; the arena is a clock.
Katniss tells everyone what Wiress has discovered; each section of the arena corresponds to a time on the clock and in each section of the clock a different kind of attack happens – the fog, the monkeys, etc. They decide to sit at the cornucopia and watch the different sections of the arena to see what each section does and at what time.
At the cornucopia, they restock their weapons and Peeta draws a picture of the arena in the sand so they can keep track of the sections. As they are distracted, the tributes from Districts 1 and 2 attack; Katniss and Johanna manage to kill the tributes from 1 but not before they kill Wiress.
The tributes from District two hide behind the cornucopia and Katniss chases after them but the island they are all standing on begins to spin out of control and everyone is forced to hold on for their lives. When the island stops spinning, Finnick saves Beetee from the water and Katniss swims out to Wiress’ body to get the wire that Beetee found in the cornucopia and seems so important to him.
The five who are remaining head back toward the jungle and despite Katniss’ uneasy feelings she goes off with Finnick to get water while Peeta stays on the beach with Johanna to make another clock drawing. In the jungle, Katniss hears Prim’s screams.
Katniss runs after the voice and soon realizes that Prim’s scream is coming from a jabberjay, a genetically mutated bird, and Katniss kills the bird. When Finnick comes after her, he too hears the voice of someone he loves and runs off in the other direction. As Katniss and Finnick run away they come to a wall that does not let them get away from the birds, they have to wait until that section of the clock is done with its torture. Katniss and Finnick are both convinced that their loved ones are being tortured by the Capitol, and their screams were recorded, but Beetee assures them that it would be all too easy for the government to create the false screams of anyone they want.
That night they watch the faces of the dead flash in the sky and receive a gift of rolls from District 3. Beetee is sure to count the rolls before anyone eats them, and they decide to save some of them for later. Peeta and Katniss keep watch together that night and Katniss finds that Peeta has brought a locket with him that contains pictures of Mrs. Everdeen, Prim, and Gale; he uses the locket to try to convince Katniss to let him die to save her but Katniss refuses.
The next day Katniss tries to convince Peeta that they have to break away from the others because they will have to kill them soon enough, but Peeta thinks that they should wait. Beetee comes up with a plan that day to kill the District 2 tributes; he will run his wire from the lightning source that strikes at midnight into the water and kill the tributes when they are on the beach.
They all hike up to the lightning tree together, and Katniss tells them where the force field is so they stay away; Beetee is amused when the others tell him that Katniss can hear the force field because he knows that he taught her how to see it. After Beetee is done examining the tree, and the area around it they all go back to the beach where they dine on seafood and more rolls that have been sent from District 3.
The next day they all head to the lightning tree so Beetee can rig the electrical wire. Beetee tells Johanna and Katniss to run down to the jungle, carefully placing the wire, so they can quickly head off to section one of the clock where they will be safe. Katniss does not want to leave Peeta behind because she still worries that the others are going to turn on them and separating them will create the perfect opportunity; however, Katniss and Johanna are the fastest so it makes the most sense.
Halfway down the hill Johanna gives the wire to Katniss and shortly after the wire snaps back at Katniss and she finds herself being thrown to the ground with a hard blow; Katniss is barely conscious, but she can feel that Johanna is sitting on her and digging her knife into Katniss’ arm. When Katniss comes to, she is sure that her fears have been realized and she runs back up the mountain to get Peeta.
Katniss finds Beetee unconscious with wire securing a knife to his hand, and she remembers what Haymitch told her before she left for the Games – to remember who the real enemy is, which Katniss knows is the Capitol. Katniss wraps the wire around one of her arrows and shoots it into the force field; sure that is what Beetee was trying to do.
Lightning strikes and Katniss sees the arena start to fall apart right in front of her eyes. A hovercraft comes and takes Katniss out of the arena, and she finds herself in the presence of the head gamemaker before she passes out. When Katniss comes to she finds herself in a medical room and Beetee is in the bed next to her; she is sure they have been captured by the Capitol. Katniss feels that Peeta must be getting tortured, so she grabs a syringe that she plans to use to kill him so he will not suffer, and goes down the hall.
Katniss hears Finnick’s and Haymitch’s voices coming from another room along with the head gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee. Katniss reveals her presence and she is told that there was a plan in place all along to rescue Katniss from the arena and many of the other tributes had made their promise to save Katniss and Peeta at all costs, even if it meant their own lives. Katniss has become the face of the rebellion, and she needs to live to spark hope in others and they knew that if Peeta did not survive then Katniss would not be a strong enough leader.
Katniss finds out that Peeta was not rescued by them; however, because the Capitol got to him before they could, and also finds out that they are on their way to District 13 where people are still living and the rebellion is stationed. Katniss is devastated by her fear for what is happening to Peeta in the Capitol and confused at the new information. Gale comes into the room, injured, and tells Katniss that her family is fine but District 12 has been destroyed.
What Happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, Etc.
The group sets out to rescue Cunegonde and the old woman, and on the way the Baron and Pangloss tell their tales. Candide apologizes to the Baron for stabbing him, but the Baron graciously forgives him. He says that after he was stabbed a surgeon took him in and nursed him back to health. Later, he was abducted by Spanish troops and sent to prison. Eventually, he ended up employed in Constantinople where he was caught bathing with a Muslim. For this crime, he was sent to the galley as a slave.
After hearing the Baron’s story, Candide asks Pangloss to reveal how he survived. Since the Inquisition has more experience burning people than hanging them, they did not tie the knot well, and his flow of air was not entirely cut off. A surgeon took his “corpse” home to dissect it, but when he cut into Pangloss’s body the philosopher screamed. Startled, the surgeon fell back, and his wife came to see what the commotion was. After Pangloss begged for their help the surgeon sewed him back up, and the wife nursed him back to health.
Later, Pangloss entered the service of a Venetian merchant and one day went into a mosque. There, he saw a beautiful young woman accidentally drop a bouquet that lay by her bosom. In returning it, Pangloss “took too long” and was ousted as a Christian. His crime was to be sent to the galley where he met the Baron, and they spent many days arguing about whose crime was worse. Candide asks Pangloss if, after all his hardships, he still believes everything is for the best. Pangloss still thinks that is true and does not renounce his philosophy.
How Candide Found Cunegonde and the Old Woman Again
During their conversation, Candide and the group arrive at the house of the prince. They see Cunegonde and the old woman outside doing laundry. The Baron and Candide are shocked at Cunegonde’s transformation – her skin is browned and wrinkled and she has lost all of her beauty. Candide ransoms Cunegonde and the old woman and decides, with the old woman’s advice, to buy a small farm.
Once they are settled, Cunegonde reminds Candide of his promise to marry her. She is not aware that she is no longer beautiful, and Candide cannot turn her down. The Baron, however, still insists that Candide cannot marry Cunegonde because of their slight difference in royal blood. Candide reminds the Baron of all that he has done for Cunegonde, and the fact that he just rescued the Baron from slavery. Still, the Baron insists that Candide cannot marry his sister while he is alive.
In truth, Candide does not wish to marry Cunegonde because she is so ugly, but wants to prove the Baron wrong. He consults the others, who all have different opinions about how to deal with the Baron. They decide to send him back to the galley without telling Cunegonde, and go ahead with the plan.
Now that Candide is with Cunegonde and all his friends living in peace, he and the others should be happy. However, instead they are miserable and bored. Cunegonde keeps getting uglier and harder to handle, the old woman becomes increasingly feeble, and Cacambo, who works in the garden, curses his work. Martin is the only one who stays the same. From time to time, they still talk about philosophy and good and evil. Candide wonders whether it would be worse to go through more hardships or to be bored as they are now. Martin comes to the conclusion that man is never satisfied. Even Pangloss, though he says everything is for the best, does not truly believe it.
One day Paquette and Friar Giroflee come to the farm. All the money Candide gave them is gone, and they are even worse off than before. Martin gloats at being right in that the money would only bring them more hardship instead of making them happy.
After a while, Candide and the others go to ask a famous Turkish philosopher about all the questions about life and happiness they have not been able to answer. The great philosopher is not helpful and slams the door in their faces. On their way home, they meet an old man who invites them inside for food. Candide is impressed by the man and his children, as well as their simple lifestyle. Most of all, he realizes that they are happier than any others he has encountered on his journey, even the wealthy.
He decides that man was not born to be idle, and that everyone needs to work in the gardens on their estate. Each member of the household learns a skill and helps around the house. Sometimes, Pangloss reflects on the string of events leading up to their life on the farm. Candide listens to him, but always replies that they need to “cultivate the garden.”
Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.
The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.
Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.
Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.
Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.
Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?
Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.
Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.