Essay Example on The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Review








The novel opens with a narrative directive to the reader Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened First picture the forest I want you to be its conscience the eyes in the trees The effect of the directive is that it puts the reader in the setting the author wants the book to be seen in This directive suggests that something has happened that left the forest with ruins in it When Orleanna narrates and mentions you it appears she is talking to death or a higher power that has some control over her life The disasters Orleanna talks about are how people and nations turned on the Congo and how people turned on her She is telling the story looking back on Africa because it seems she is nearing the end of her life slowly not really doing anything anymore just reflecting and her kids telling it as it's happening because they are younger and still have lives ahead of them Kingsolver uses voice to characterize the sisters by relating the way they talk to their characteristics

When Ruth May talks she uses simpler words and words heard from other characters because she is a child and has not learned as much as everyone else Adah barely talks to people because she has pushed herself away from society but her voice in the book is very intelligent just like her twin Leah Leah has the same intelligent voice as Adah and she shows it by talking to everyone and knowing she can be in a more adult conversation and understand The oldest sister Rachel s voice is sometimes snappy and dim witted she is the oldest but she is the most materialistic she loves having her things and things to do Out of all the sisters the voice most compelling to me is Adah s because the interesting way she switches the words in a sentence to make a completely different one Kingsolver has said in talking about how she names her characters that A name has to be just right memorable culturally appropriate original but not sill And ideally it carries some meaning that coincides nicely with the person s intentions and character Throughout The Poisonwood Bible many different characters come about and most of their names can be put in to deeper meanings in The Poisonwood Bible To start of with names all of the sisters have interesting names because all of there names are from the Bible One can easily point out the connection of the sisters having biblical names to the title The Poisonwood Bible and their father is a preacher so it fits Another name in The Poisonwood Bible is Mama Tataba who is the house maid until she leaves Her name has significance because it shows what names are common in the Congo Explained in the book it is common in the Congo for some ladies to be called Mama Another way Mama Tataba s name has significance is it shows that she is from the Congo People from the Congo would not have a name like Leah or Ruth May because the people there have never heard those names from the Bible That is how some names in The Poisonwood Bible show significance and deeper meanings

Book Two is entitled The Revelation and the girl s section is entitled The Things We Learned The revelation belongs to the whole family and it is about their future in the Congo and the things learned by the girls were basic words plants and ways of living in the Congo When the girls go to the Congo they had very little understanding of the words used to describe plants animals and people but along the way they learn from the people around them Another thing the girls learn is the way other people live One of the girls was playing with their friend and noticed the way the child built a small stick house and she realized her missionary house was differed from the child s model Another thing they learned was that they were the only ones in the town to have a mirror and realized what the people around them had and themselves seeing major differences Book Two is called The Revelation referring to the revelation the family slowly comes to in the end The revelation is that the family is going to be staying in the Congo for awhile and that it s not going to be easy After the new leader of the Congo is declared the Price s are supposed to leave but Nathan being stubborn force s his family to stay It is also revealed that it is going to be a struggle to stay there because of supplies and Nathan s attitude and ego getting in the way of things That is the revelation made in Book Two and some of the things the girls learned about the Congo In Kingsolver s novel Patrice Lumumba and historical events in the 1960 s are mentioned throughout Some of the political events affect and mirror the things happening within the Price family One way the two may mirror each other is that prior to the Congo s independence many people were upset and wanted to become independent which can be mirrored in the Price family as their father having to much control over their lives and everyone wanting to leave Also the Congo s independence is also going to affect the way the Price s get their supplies they might have to do all their shopping on the market days which could cause some trouble in the town The Congo becoming independent and the Underdowns leave this event could also impact the Price s lives because without the supplies and sicknesses going around it can put their live in danger That is how some of these political events can impact and mirror the Price family

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