Sacrifice In The Poisonwood Bible

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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. I looked up when he said this, startled by such a pathetically inadequate observation. Was that really what mattered to him right now—the condition of Ruth May’s soul?” (368). Leah has clearly begun to question the importance and validity of both religion and her father due to Ruth May’s death. While the passing of Ruth May is evidently overwhelming for the Price family, it also facilitates Leah’s rebellion against Nathan Price. Leah’s tone of contempt towards her father is clear in the previous passage, and she also challenges the importance of the state of Ruth May’s soul, which shows a significant change in her earlier, more submissive and naïve, self. Her absolute belief in her father earlier in the novel is characterized when she says “His [Nathan’s] devotion to its [the garden’s] progress, like his…show more content…
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