Table of Contents
The Poisonwood Bible (in the year of 1998), by the author named Barbara Kingsolver, is actually a best-selling novel regarding a missionary family, named the Prices, who in the year of 1959 move from the nation of United States to the village named Kilanga in Belgian Congo, which was close to Kwilu River.
The title of the novel refers to the Bible errata or misprints. The father of the above said family makes his own ‘misprint’ of the Bible. He concludes his addresses with the specific Kikongo expression “Tata Jesus is bängala” with the intention of stating “Jesus is most precious”. In his rushed mispronunciation, he really says “Jesus is poisonwood”.
Orleanna Price, who is the mother of the entire family, tells the preliminary chapter in 7 of the novel’s 7 sections. The narrative then substitutes amongst the 4 daughters, with a minor preference for voice of the most honest one, Leah. The 4 girls progressively mature as well as develop in different ways as each adapts to the African village life as well as the political turmoil that reaches the Belgian Congo in 1960s.
The Price family take their belongings and then take the flight to Congo, where they are scheduled to spend at least year as the family of missionary. Nevertheless, soon before leaving, they are communicated that they are actually limited to max 44 pounds of the luggage each person. The Southern Baptist Mission League advises they resolve this issue by leaving for airport wearing several layers of clothing, and then hiding the household items amongst the layers of the clothes in order to lighten the luggage. This would be the 1st problem of several that would be faced by the Price family.
The Price girls – Rachel, and Leah, and Adah and then Ruth May – as well as their father, Nathan, go to their initial church service in the specific village known as Kilanga, and they soon realize that how dissimilar their culture actually is from the culture of the Congo. For instance, the 14-year-old Leah enables her father to plant a ‘demonstration garden’, and it instantly receives criticism and disapproval from Mama Tataba, the one who the family has affianced as live-in helper. Nathan makes an attempt to hold an unrehearsed Easter celebration in the hopes to baptize several people, but without any success of baptizing even 1, because the river along the above said village, where the baptism was to be done, is actually infested with the crocodiles.
Leah as well as her twin named Adah started to spy upon Eeben Axelroot, who is the pilot who transported the family to the village of Kilanga, and Nathan makes an attempt to convince the Congolese men, to convert to the religion of Christianity. In the meanwhile, 5-year-old Ruth May make friends with all the village children. She discovers the business of Axelroot in relation to the diamonds subsequent to breaking her arm.
Subsequent to Mama Tataba departs, a specific orphan boy, whose name was Nelson, becomes the servant of the family Leah and Nathan go to the Leopoldville (current day Kinshasa) in order to witness the happenings and incidences in connection to the independence in Congo. Methuselah (who was a parrot that had been adopted by the Prices from the preceding missionary) passes away, and Adah then finds the feathers of Methuselah. Afterwards, Ruth May becomes sick and then lies in the bed for most part of the day. Subsequently, Leah starts to spend a most of the time of the entire day with Anatole, who was the teacher of Kilanga, discussing the topics like justice as well as the Congo. Leah wishes to partake in the ‘hunt’ that actually upsets the elders of the village, as such conduct would go against their own custom, however, she ultimately is permitted to partake and even hunts a specific antelope.
All the girls gather together in morning in order to check out the specific chicken coop. Inside they discover the footprints as well as a ‘green mamba’ snake. A gasp as well as a scream is heard from the youngest daughter named Ruth May, who has actually been bitten by the ‘green mamba’ snake. The girls are only able to watch as their sister turn cold as well as blue just before Ruth May passes away. Orleanna then becomes filled with remorse and guilt due to the untimely demise of Ruth May, and then takes the other daughters away, thereby leaving her arrogant and conceited husband to fend all for himself. With the help of Anatole, they finally reach safety.
All the remaining Price sisters then go through several different life alterations and changes: Firstly, Adah dedicates herself into receiving a scientific education at home (as she is hemiplegic and she wishes to learn much more in connection to the condition); Secondly, Leah gets married to Anatole and afterwards, they commence a family together; Thirdly, Rachel remains pretty much self-centered, and goes through a series of marriages, and then commences a business; and Nathan passes away in his ineffective and unsuccessful mission.
The story comes to an end with a final and concluding chapter, where Ruth May reflects upon her sisters as well as her mother who all are attempting to go to her grave, although, becoming unsuccessful in finding it, and on top of that a woman tells them a place by the name of Kilanga never actually existed. Ruth May watches her sisters as well as her mother, and she has perceived the manner in which they have actually matured; and Ruth May has matured as well. Due to her death, Ruth May in the end is able to comprehend the Congolese terminology ‘muntu’, which defines and demarcates the conception known as the unity and the manner in which all of life is actually connected in a similar way. She is able to comprehend that she herself is ‘muntu’, and a portion of everything that is all around her. Ruth May just wishes her mother to comprehend the conception and that she actually moves on. She asks that her mother should forgive herself and definitely not live with the remorse or guilt anymore.
“We aimed for no more than to have dominion over every creature that moved upon the earth. And so it came to pass that we stepped down there on a place we believed unformed, where only darkness moved on the face of the waters.” — Orleanna, page 10.
“We are supposed to be calling the shots here, but it doesn’t look to me like we’re in charge of anything, not even our own selves.” — Rachel, Page 22
“It’s a heavenly paradise in the Congo, and sometimes I want to live here forever.” — Leah, page 104.
“Father says a girl can’t go to college because they’ll pour water in your shoes.” — Ruth May, page 117.
“I wonder that religion can live or die on the strength of a faint, stirring breeze. The scent trail shifts, causing the predator to miss the pounce. One god draws in the breath of life and rises; another god expires.” — Adah, page 141.
“When I finally got up with sharp grains imbedded in my knees, I found, to my surprise, that I no longer believed in God.” — Adah, page 171.
“I have pictured it many times-Hope!-wondering how I would catch such a thing one-handed, if it did come floating down to me from the sky. Now I find it has fallen already, and a piece of it is here beside our latrine, one red plume. In celebration I stooped down to pick it up.” — Adah, page 185.