What Is The Theme Of Imperialism In The Poisonwood Bible

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Through the voices of five female narrators with contrasting perspectives, Barbara Kingsolver analyzes the extent to which imperialism affects the lives of indigenous populations and the lives of the imperialists. Each perspective places blame for the events of the novel on a different entity and each narrator feels a different degree of guilt for those events. The Poisonwood Bible’s secondary themes include the extent to which an environment affects the way that children grow up. This secondary theme creates the connection between familial dynamics and international relationships. While the novel paints a picture of imperialism by recounting the brief independence of the Congo, the relationship of the Price family and their interactions with Africa are more representative of the effects of imperialism on different types of people. In the novel, the father and missionary Nathan Price represents an imperialist power, his wife and daughters represent the civilians of imperialist countries, and Kilanga and the Congo…show more content…
The Price family’s politics mirror the politics between imperialist powers and target countries. Just as the majority of imperialist powers disregard the lives and desires of civilians living in their target countries, Nathan Price, the symbol of an imperialist power for the Price family, did not take into consideration any of his family’s needs, eventually resulting in inevitable tragedy and loss of his family. As the perpetuator of numerous injustices against his family, Nathan was blamed for both the tragedy and his own abandonment. While Nathan is to blame for most all of the events in the novel, the narrators of the story feel guilt simply being involved and doing nothing to stop him. The Poisonwood Bible is, comprehensively, a lesson on imperialism portrayed through a long-term, personal
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