Sofia is put in jail because when the mayor and his wife make racist remarks to her, she loses her control and punches the mayor’s wife. In jail, Sofia is beaten and abused, and she begins to get so sick she nears death.
When Squeak, the warden’s niece, goes to the jailhouse to persuade him to make Sofia a house servant instead of an inmate, she is raped by the warden. Three years later, however, Sofia does become the servant of the mayor and his wife.
Soon Shug Avery returns with a new husband. When the two men go out to drink, Celie reveals to Shug the true nature of her childhood and how her father’s rape was the cause of her pregnancies. Celie and Shug discuss this in tears. This discussion ends with Celie and Shug sleeping together. Now Shug is Celie’s sexual as well as emotional soul-mate.
Following Shug’s example, Mary Agnes (Squeak) begins to sing in public.
With the help of Shug, Celie reads a letter from Nettie which reveals that indeed she is not dead and that Celie's two children are alive and well. Celie learns that Nettie's letters have been taken by Mr. __ and kept from her all these years.