• Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 29-12-12 12:49



  • Highly intellectual
  • Recognizes the value of education
  • Celie's protecter
  • Celie's teacher
  • Shows the universal oppresion of racial segregation
  • She has the role of observer; of the development of Celie's children and of the effect of foreign intervention on the African way of life

Development (Growth & change)

Other information              

  • Sister of Celie- We see her care for Celie and Celies care for her right at the start. Celie notices the sinister conotations with her 'boyfriend' being "in the same shape as pa." When Celie is determined not to be taken out of school "Nettie never give up"
  • Second letter- lost and lonely with multiple AAVE. In this letter we see Nettie in her lonely voice, in contrast to the first letter read. She speaks of Mr___ "you sure is looking fine, Miss Nettie" We see, despite her innocence that she is stronger than Celie is, with an emotional response to Mr__ advances "I was so mad I was shaking".
  • In the following letters we begin to see Nettie changing positively and growing due to the help of Samuel and Corinne. We see her begin to become more intellectual, with multiple interrogatives "That Egypt is in Africa?", we can see she already has the ability to manipulate her writing for rhetorical effect with the use of italics, metaphors and tripling "reading and studying and writing" However we also see that Nettie is lonely without her sister. Nettie also finds out things that mirror Celies knowledge "Ethiopians in the bible were coloured... Jesus had hair like lambs wool"
  • In the North we see an exposure to the prosperity of Blacks in the North, namely the Harlem community in New York. Multiple comparative !more fancy motor carss than i thought existed" The idea of economically successful and independent blacks is largely foreign to Southern black women like Nettie and Celie, who are accustomed only to denigration, denial, and subservience at the hands of both whites and black men. We see that Nettie’s encounter with independent blacks has broadened her idea of opportunity considerably. Even though Celie may not yet realize it, Nettie’s descriptions of Harlem empower Celie and they may be a factor in the economic independence Celie achieves later in the novel.
  • Nettie is pleased with England by their generosity, however the items in the museum insinuates a breaking of culture. Nettie begins to wonder why the Africans sold them into slavery.
  • In Africa, meeting the Olinka she is shown roofleaf and finds out about barbecue. Also pigdin English sounds familiar- the slaves were from Africa Her acceptance of the ceremony of the roof leaf as "not Jesus Christ, its own humble way is it not God?" is significant, as is her decoration of her hut with native artefacts rather than the stereotypical images of the missionary Jesus and saints. She ends up with a more spiritual and personal relationship with God as a result of her time in Africa, and like her sister comes to realise that the narrowness of conventional belief and practice closes rather than opens the way to a personal contact with the Almighty.
  • Beginning to feel down heartened,  the missionary work is hard and she finds in education the students "are all boys". She also realises how sexist behaviour is a world wide attribute with it reminding her "too much of pa. They listen just long enough to issue instructions."Nettie is very vocal in her attitudes toward the native Africans, especially the self-centeredness she perceives in them, and their clear sexism.
  • By highlighting the self-centeredness Nettie perceives in the Olinka community, as well as its clear subordination of women, Walker complicates her depiction of race and identity. Though the Olinka are oppressed by a colonial force, the rubber company, there is still significant oppression within the Olinka community itself. This internal oppression, coupled with what Walker portrays as the self-centeredness of the Olinka people and their indifference toward African-American slavery, complicates the seemingly straightforward categories of oppressor and oppressed.
  • Nettie is futher upset as she realises they will not take any responsibility for salvery "that i definately do not like". However we find out that sisterhood is a worldwide concept: "It is in work women get to know and care about each other."
  • Further pain - the white men come and destroy the plains "the village itself seems gutted" "Our cheif never learned English" With this discussion of the barrier separating the Olinka from the English, Walker emphasizes that, though narrative can be a powerful force, some differences cannot be overcome. Cultural complexities and gulfs of foreignness sometimes render communication futile. This provides a sobering counterexample to Celie’s success at finding her voice and using it as the key to her discovery of self-worth.
  • Nettie finds out that Corrine beleives that the children are hers. Nettie asks to know where the children did come from. Finds out pa is not pa, highly sophisticated voice on Netties behalf. The 'once upon a time' discourse marker makes her words much less realistic than Celies narrative style. After learning of her tragic background, Celie feels that she has lost some of her faith in God, and closes what she intends to be her final letter to God by chiding, “You must be sleep.” Instead, Celie begins to write letters to Nettie.
  • Appeals to the bishop as a result of being sent tin roofs- a horrific contrast to the roofleaf they admired as a god "we had to pay  for the tin, Celie." They are rejected, and anger is caused as a result. "the bishop smirked. Yes, he did." finding love with Samuel however makes this bearable and she helps him as he confronts the problem with the Olinka: "We love them... But they reject us". "I love his walk, his size, his shape his smell..."
  • Respectful voice with Doris baines. "We listened to this in more or less respectful silence." In this same letter we also hear, through Nettie, of Samuel, and how he has come to be different from the conventional men in the south of America "born in the North, New York" "she was so quiet, so reflective" The blended voice of Samuel and Nettie demonstrates their togetherness.
  • We hear of the Olinka attempting to save their image as unique in a changing world with Tashi deciding to undergo the female initiation "Tashi was happy that the initiation ceremony isn't done in Europe or America"
  • Change in faith, Nettie finds a more internal spirit, similar to Celie "God is different to us now, after all these years in Africa. More spirit than ever before, and more internal"
  • In the last letter we see Nettie's return. "I say Nettie" We see that Tashi is ostracised and returns to America, breaking from the oppresion fo the Olinka.
  • Though Walker celebrates diversity and difference in the novel, the novel ends with the recognition that not all differences can be overcome. Conflicts remain between the Olinka villagers and the whites and between Nettie and the indigenous Africans.
  • The structure of Netties journey therefore emotionally is: Youth;Silence;Scared;Helped;Uplifted by wider look at the world; dissapointed;overworked and dissapointed; angered by the bishop; finds love and is uplifted again, finds Celie and is happy.
  • Silenced, after Nettie leaves the communication begins to become limited. We don't find out until her letters are recieved that in fact Nettie has found courage in writing.To Celie. We find that she also is lonely.


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