In the Poisonwood Bible, a southern Baptist Minister named Nathan Price traveled to the South African Congo dragging his wife and four daughters along with him even though they didn’t want to go. Although most of the book is set in the heart of the African Congo, it starts out in Atlanta, Georgia. The book starts out in 1959 and it is concluded in 1998. Poisonwood Bible has a series of four narrators which are the four daughters, Rachel Price, Leah Price, Adah Price, and Ruth May Price. Rachel is the one of the most important characters.
Response to: the gospel according to barbara kingsolver: brother fowles and st. Francis of assisi in the poisonwood bible Although I did not agree with William F. Purcell’s essay about culture in The Poisonwood Bibe, I do agree with him on his view of the gospel in the book. When you hear the title of this book you automatically think, church, God, Christianity or religion. In Purcell’s essay he states tat he believes there are multiple types of christianity in this book. After reading this essay I fully agree with his stand on the gospel according to Barbara Kingsolver.
The Poisonwood Bible is an adventurous tale of an American family settling in Congo, Africa for a mission to spread their Christian faith. The family member in charge of the mission is Nathan Price, a Baptist preacher. It is a story of the effects of culpability on people’s lives. The characters develop and drastically change throughout the story because of their experiences of living in the Congo. It is a dangerous place where “the land owns the people” (Kingsolver 283).
In many ways the Congo changes the young fourteen-year-old girl into a strong independent woman. There are many encounters in the novel where she starts to question her faith in God as well as in her father. For example, hearing stories about rubber plantation workers getting their hands chopped off because they were not able to get the desired about of rubber startles Leah and makes her question race relations. Race becomes a dominant issue at this point and her experiences in Kilanga have invalidated all she had been taught about race in America. At this point, Leah starts to go on her own and figure out whom she is.
With the inclusion of a multitude of perspectives, experiences, and emotions outside her own, her expertise heightens allowing her to be more respected as an influential writer on the subject at
The title, The Poisonwood Bible, is an excellent title for the plot of this book. “Tata Jesus is bangala” (331), which has two different meaning because bangala means precious and also the poisonwood tree. Reverend Price says this phrase at the end of every sermon, but he mispronounces the word bangala so that it means poisonwood tree. So the locals think he is saying “Jesus is the poisonwood tree” instead of “Jesus is precious.” This makes the title very important because it makes the Congolese not want to know God because they think He is poisonwood.
Pain, both physical and mental, affects every character in The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. However, the biggest loss, which is that of the Price family’s youngest child, Ruth May’s, life also brings about some positive effects as well. Here, similarly to in Twelfth Night, a person is sacrificed for the greater good. Naturally, it may be more difficult to imagine the benefit of Ruth May’s sacrifice than to imagine the benefits of Viola’s, but if given adequate thought, it becomes clear that the death of Ruth May helps the other women in the Price family to realize Nathan Price’s destructive ways. Kingsolver first exposes Leah Price’s newfound argumentative and bold personality, and her opposition towards her father in the following exchange, “”She wasn’t baptized yet,” he said.
he Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver focuses on both real life and fictional events and tells the story of the Price family’s experience in the Congo. Kingsolver makes good use of foreshadowing to dramatize the tragic incidents that occur in Africa. Orleanna Price is the most reliable narrator in the novel and is used to foreshadow future events and to explain various aspects of the past. In the first chapter, Orleanna maps out all the major events that will occur throughout the book.
In Barbara Kingsolver’s work, The Poisonwood Bible, Nathan Price is a character which responds to injustice in some significant way. Out of all the other characters, Nathan is the one who responds the most to an act of injustice by going on a campaign halfway around the world to somehow repay his obligation to God. He plans to do this by spreading Christianity, or at least his version of Christianity, to the native people of the Congo. The whole reason for him doing this is that he believes being wounded and leaving battle right before the rest of his company dies is an act of injustice and feels as if though he should have died there with his men. Nathan feels like he is a failure and is guilty for not dying with his brothers on the battlefield.
This further expands on the meaning by showing the contrast of how little the Congolese care for others’ appearances when compared to the American view. The Congolese shared their view on appearances near the beginning of the novel when describing Mama Mwanza and Mama Nguza. The Americans think Orleanna became tainted while she was in the Congo. Even though Orleanna used to live in Bethlehem, the other residents of the town don’t view her the same way as they did before she went to the Congo. Adah even commented on their reception: “...welcome home the pitiful Prices!
In the novel, The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, a missionary family travel to the African Congo during the 1960’s, in hopes of bringing enlightenment to the Congolese in terms of religion. The father, Nathan, believes wholeheartedly in his commitment, and this is ultimately his downfall when he fails to realize the damage that he is placing upon his family and onto the people living in Kilanga, and refuses to change the way he sees things. However, his wife, Orleanna, and her daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May, take the Congo in, and make the necessary changes in their lives, and they do this in order to survive with their new darkness that they are living in. Curiosity and acceptance help the ones with curious minds,
The Poisonwood Bible explores multiple different meanings ranging from love and loyalty, to ignorance and political oppression. While it is a story of the journey of the Price family in the Congo, Kingsolver uses these narratives to draw a bigger picture of the geopolitics that are at play in the Congo. I think the overarching theme of the novel is ignorance and its opposite: empathy. We follow the journeys of ignorant characters such as Rachel and Nathan Price and are given a parallel with the journeys of Adah, Leah, and Orleanna. However Kingsolver showcases the realities of life here or beyond by the end of the novel where it is clear that none of the characters we met at the beginning would end up with lives that fulfilled all their dreams
She grows old with the self-condemnation of staying with Nathan for as long as she did, for if she mustered up the courage to leave the Congo earlier, Ruth May would not have died. Ruth May’s plea for Orleanna to forgive herself, just as Ruth May has forgiven her, presents the possibility of repentance for anyone, no matter how great of consequence their mistakes are. Though she never passed the age of 6, Ruth May seems to have learned better than most the importance of finding strength from and learning from wrong-doings. Urging her mother to “Move on. Walk forward into the light”, Ruth may passes along her own moral reassessment to anyone whom will listen, telling the error in letting so-called sins weigh down ones self forever
A deceiving student, Macca, dominates both Ruth and fellow victim, Philip. No one attempts to control this, not even Mrs Canmore who only warns the bullies. One student, Ruth, comes from a tough background; she is a soldier against the Macca War. Despite the consequences, Ruth becomes a quiet hero; this inspires the audience. Throughout the story, the author portrays Ruth as a shred of hope for the other characters.