Mongoose In The Poisonwood Bible

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In the novel the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, there is often parallels between what occurs in the novel and the history and culture of the lands at the time. Often symbols directly parallel the past colonial history of the Congo. The novel highlights the rise and fall of the nation, as well as the impacts of more powerful nations on the ultimate destiny of the Congo. Through the novel, animals are utilized to represent animals present in Congo as parallels for nations. The novel depicts a nation raised, a nation betrayed. A nation’s ideals, a nation’s disappointingly weak reality. It depicts the complexities of the 1960’s in the former Belgian Congo. The mongoose adopted by the price family directly parallels the nation of Belgium.…show more content…
In the novel, characters with western influences often think of the mongoose as a clever creature. Anatole demonstrates this through saying “She had the heart of a mongoose. Brave and clever.”(Kingsolver, 430). Anatole, as an educated character, views the world through a lens closer to that of the United States. The mongoose is also depicted in this same way by colonial people. In the short story Rikki Tikki-tavi by Rudyard Kipling, an author well known for his pro-imperialist ideals, the mongoose is painted in the same light. The novel depicts the mongoose as a protector and friend of man. The noble creature protects a colonial family and their child, as well as those around them from a vicious attack from a pair of cobras. The ideal helps to paint the colonialists as noble people and great saviors and champions of democracy and…show more content…
The lion is strong, forceful, and in command of the lands. In the recently independent Congo, there was hope that the government would be like the lion, and force the foreigners out of the nation. However, they failed. This is depicted in the novel through the lion attack on Leah. Tata Ndu describes the approach of the lion as “He came up the steps to explain in his formal French that the tracks of a large lion, a solitary hunting male, had been spotted on the path from the river. Tata Ndu’s eldest son had just come back from there and brought this report. He had seen the marks of the little girl who drags her right foot, and the lion tracks, very fresh, covering over her footprints”(Kingsolver, 140) This highlights an idealized, united ,strong Congo, attacking the wounded and slow Western occupiers, to hunt and remove them. Much like the lion, the nation never truly succeeded in accomplishing the final attack on their occupants. Because of this, the nation resembled less of a lion, and more of a timid
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