Political Allegory In Nathan Price's The Poisonwood Bible

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Title The title The Poisonwood Bible is very fitting. The poisonwood tree is described as “The tree that was plaguing us all to death” (29). Just as the painful, venomous and hazardous if mishandled poisonwood tree is, so is Nathan Price's theology. He mistranslates key words and therefore the biblical message doesn't make sense to the people to whom he preaches (73). He doesn’t take time to understand the people, he simply judges and criticizes their culture. Nathan publicly disgraces a woman during a service for her attire. He proceeds to proclaim, “Nakedness, and darkness of the soul!” (7). He causes more problems for the people rather than aiding them. Character Out of all of the characters, I think Adah would make a good friend. She …show more content…

While the main focus of the story is the Price women’s guilt, it is really about the guilt of the American people. The character Orleanna sets the framework of the novel. She shows the depth of the story by saying: I had no life of my own. And you’ll say I did. You’ll say I walked across Africa with my wrists unshackled, and now I am one more soul walking free in a white skin, wearing some thread of the stolen goods: cotton or diamonds, freedom at the very least, prosperity. Some of us know how we came by our fortune, and some of us don’t, but we wear it all the same. There’s only one question worth asking now: How do we aim to live with it? (3). The quote sets the story by revealing the guilt the Price family has as well as the underlying guilt Americans have. The Price family is very ignorant to African culture. They cannot give up their luxuries from America in order to adapt to the life of the people they are trying to minister to. Instead of embracing the culture and accepting a new way of life they bring unnecessary indulgences along with them. “We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle. My sisters and I were all counting on having one birthday apiece during our twelve-month mission. “And heaven knows,” our mother predicted, “they won’t have Betty Crocker in the Congo” (4). This quote is a perfect example of the Prices snobbish attitude that continues throughout the …show more content…

Each character goes to the Congo thinking of ways to use techniques from home to make the African village more “prosperous”. Instead of trying to figure the people out, they automatically assume the stereotypes like most Americans do. In the beginning of the novel, Ruth May says, “Rex Minton said we better not go to the Congo on account of the cannibal natives would boil us in a pot and eat us up” (6). The quote is a perfect example of how a lot of Americans view tribal culture. The author is completely accurate. Most Americans view any culture that is less privileged as inferior. United States citizens are very ignorant to other ways of life. Instead of taking time to understand them, they form inaccurate

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