Page 88. " This sound mighty much like some ole uncle Tomming to me. "
Details of an illustration from the first edition of the book.
Public DomainDetails of an illustration from the first edition of the book.

'Uncle Tom' is a derogatory name for a black person perceived by others to be behaving in a subservient way to white authority figures (and more recently anyone collaborating with their oppressors). The term comes from the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin which was first published in 1852.


Page 90. " My name Mary Agnes, she say. "

After her rape Mary Agnes admonishes Harpo for calling her by her nickname, 'Squeak'. She realises the power of names and thus reclaims her own. When Celie calls Mr._ by his actual name (Albert) at the end of the novel, she is using the same power.

Page 97. " Have you ever seen a white person and a colored sitting side by side in a car "

Miss Millie's inability to call Sophia a "person" reflects the dehumanizing effect of racism.

Page 100. " The car big and dark blue and say Packard on the front. "

1934 Packard Convertible
GNU Free Documentation License1934 Packard Convertible - Credit: Sfoskett
A Packard is an American brand of car. The Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit built cars between 1899 and 1958.