Critical Literary Response: Poisonwood Bible... Essay

849 words - 4 pages

The Price family’s life was changed forever when they stepped foot into Africa. What does it take, for a mother, to bring out four living daughters? In the Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver portrays Orleanna in different ways; throughout the book the reader only gets little snippets from her perspective therefore creating a different image of her altogether when her children narrates, Orleana is a commendable mother because of her dedication to her daughters, keeping her family together, making difficult decisions, and ultimately how she saw herself.

Although Orleanna’s daughters influence the reader to perceive her as a mother who has no life of her own, however her children unite to protect Orleanna thus Orleanna has a fierce dedication for her daughters. “One has only a life of one’s own.” (Orleanna pg. 9) Orleanna comments on the accusation of her daughters that she never had a life of her own, rather she had given everything toward her husband and/or the girls; therefore she reveals the truth in her thinking: she was never needed for her girls, and Nathan, her husband, was incapable of loving her properly. This quotation, in the first chapter of the book, really portrays Orleanna as an all-knowing mother who is misunderstood, only to be finally understood at the end. “We all knew very well who’d been the one to yell that word Damn! But none of us could let him in on that awful secret.” (Leah pg.78) This quotation, on the other hand, portrays the first of several breakdown episodes for Orleanna, when she could not bake the cake for Rachel’s birthday. When Nathen hears her profanity, through Methuselah, he demands to know who taught the parrot the curse word. While the girls knew who it was, Orleanna, they stayed quiet and suffered by writing The Verse to protect her. This is also the beginning of the rift of Nathan from his wife and daughters; even Leah who idolizes her father does not tell and stands by Orleanna.

Keeping a family together is tough, especially when the wife is not getting the love she deserves as well as when the father does nothing to help. Somehow, Orleanna was able to keep the family united; she was the glue and the foundation of the family, even if Nathan thought different.
“For women like me, it seems, it’s not outs to take charge of beginnings and endings… I only know the middle ground where we live our lives… To resist...

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