The Poisonwood Bible: the Family Dynamics Between Each Character

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The book is narrated by five characters, Orleanna Price, Rachel Price, Leah Price, Adah Price, and Ruth May. The first person point of view in the book allows the reader to experience the story as seen through the character’s eyes. The author uses the first-person point of view to show the reader the character’s emotion and reaction to the events that are taking place and how the characters are struggling to adjust with the turn of events.

The poisonwood bible is a political allegory that illustrates the effects of western colonization and the postcolonial politics of the congo. Each family member serves a role in the bigger picture of the congo. We can see Nathan portrayed as the arrogance of the western people as he judges and converts the people of the congo because the perception he has on the people of congo being backward and savages.

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We can see the entitlement in the western powers to control the congo politics by putting in a proxy leader and ignoring the freedom for the people of the congo. pg (330)All while the congo still somehow is controlled by its own mysterious nature taking everything under it. The congo is exploited and ruined by the west using white man’s burden to justify their actions and the book reveals the character’s emotion of guilt about their own experience in the congo and how at the end each character chooses a path to fulfill their desire and overcome their guilt.

The author’s stylistic and structural approach to the novel not only informs us but also enlightens us on the issue of family, religion, politics, and race. The author uses biblical parallels, points of view and figurative language to portray the profound meaning of colonization and cultural complexity of the congo. figurative language throughout the book shows the character’s vision like Nathan, for example, is shown as blind both figuratively and physically emphasizing the arrogance he has on the Congolese culture. We can also see this represented on other characters as well we can see the use vision to show each character their own end. 

The biblical parallels in the book serve as irony to the message described by the bible and the actions taken by each character. The statement and the actions are seen contradictory making the reader question the credibility of the prince religion and the impact it can have if it spreads. The point of view of each character shows them taking a toll on their emotional being. Five different perspective shows the journey and lessons learned from five different eyes showcasing the family dynamics between each character and the impact Africa has on each individual member of the family.

I like how the author uses the price family journey to not only show the obstacles they face but also give in-depth details of the congo itself and how their journey in a way serves to show the damage the Congo has taken and the many hardships the people of Congo face. The book evokes the reader to think of their decisions in life and the many consequences it can have. The author helps the reader to reflect on their beliefs they may have on certain things and challenge them. The Poisonwood Bible on a whole serves as an extended metaphor that shows the effects of colonization, racism, and religion. It also brings in the perspective of guilt and how people acknowledge the wrongs done and try to repair the damage done. 

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