Character Analysis: The Poisonwood Bible

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Shawnaleh Cada Miss. Given World Literature 11 5 February 2017 Response #3 Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible is one that captivates the reader with its version of storytelling. Perhaps the novel is captivating due to the fact that the story is by five different narrators and it is set in past and present. Kingsolver’s novel reveals that storytelling is always changing based on the person telling the story. This is prominent due to the fact that the novel is by multiple personalities and is retold in different points of views. For example, readers are aware of how the characters view other characters. One character that other characters disregard is Adah. In most of the characters’ point of view, Adah does not seem very intelligent…show more content…
She then starts to tell her story and eventually begins to address her fear of losing her favorite child, later revealed to be Ruth May. She also implies her incomparable guilt that she feels haunted her is due to what happened to her favorite child. In the last section, Ruth May responds to her mother after everything that had happened and she has already died. The conversation between mother is and child is one that included Ruth May tells her mother to forgive herself, which according to Adah has not been happening because Orleanna does not face her problems but instead wishes to forget them. In fact, Orleanna claims that their moving into Congo was the beginning of ruin for their family. Ironically Adah and Orleanna returning to the Congo after all those years ago became the new beginning of their family as they became reunited with Leah and Rachel. One of the similar themes in the first and last section is the idea of ruin. In the prologue, the idea of ruin compares to the jungle. The novel states that the jungle eats itself and lives forever, which relates to how the world works and what has happened to the Price family. The world can live on forever, but not without death and rebirth just like how a family lives on forever, but death and rebirth occur. In the Price family’s case, the death of Ruth May and their family as a whole occurs in the Congo and their family’s rebirth…show more content…
Comparing the political events occurring in Congo at this time and the situation of the Price family can symbolize the relationship between an oppressive force of authority and the freedom one can have if they escape it. Nathan’s suppressive and obsessive nature is comparable to that of Belgium as he refuses to adopt Congo’s culture only to change what is already there so that it can accommodate his beliefs. Orleanna is getting weary of what Nathan is doing as she begins to embrace the culture of the Congo along with her children with the guidance Mama Mwanza and their other neighbors. Nathan came to symbolize the arrogance of the west in terms of how he believed he was better than everyone and this can also be literal in the book as the American president Eisenhower orders the assassination of the leader of the Congo Lumumba because of his entitlement that America knows what is best and in his mind the best thing to do was take control of Congo with a leader that he himself placed to lead. The novel also includes a number of religious references, from the name of the characters to what Ruth May becomes. Faith is also put in question with this novel a Nathan represents all the bad that happens when religion and faith become construed and misinterpreted. It is also ironic that their last name is Price and that they had to pay a “price” for the sins they committed and that was Ruth May’s life.
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