Pantheism In The Poisonwood Bible

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The Poisonwood Bible, written in 1998 by Barbara Kingsolver, is a bestselling novel about a family led by the evangelistic Reverend Nathan Price, who in 1959 moved his family from Georgia to the village of Kilanga in the Belgian Congo. Many elements of The Poisonwood Bible allude to parallels that can be drawn in biblical texts, such as the names of the Price children, the events that happen to them, and the aptly named titles of the chapters. Kingsolver also includes alternative ways to worship in Christianity that differ from the traditional ‘organized’ way.
Though the novel is packed with Christian symbolism and double-meanings, Kingsolver turns the notion of a 'bible' on its head by narrating the story solely through the eyes of five
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Orleanna, an ex-nature believer, rapidly picks up on this thought and seems, on her extensive hikes and later in her gardening, to adopt it as her own way of spirituality. By the end of the book both Adah and Leah seem to have adopt versions of pantheism as well, with Leah stating that her awareness of God is "some kin to the passion of Brother Fowles…who advised me to trust in creation" (525), and Adah declaring that, "God is everything then" (528). Given that cultural pride over others is presented as the most pronounced sin of the West, and old-fashioned ways of Christianity as one of this sin's main mediums, it is not surprising to find pantheism being presented as the spiritual antidote to traditional Christianity. It speaks against the stance of ‘subdue and conquer’ that Western philosophy applies to both the natural world and to the humans who inhabit it. Barbara Kingsolver sprinkled allegory and allusion to the Biblical narrative throughout The Poisonwood Bible as a way to confront the ways that society normally accepts how religion is involved in the world. However, by using female narrators we get a sense of what is seen through the eyes of a woman, as most western religions are dictated by that of the patriarchy. She also offers an ‘antidote’ to that of what she perceives as the shortfalls of Christianity, with that of

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