Poisonwood Bible Essay

1946 words - 8 pages

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of many well-written pieces of literature including The Poisonwood Bible. This novel explores the beauty and hardships that exist in the Belgian Congo in 1959. Told by the wife and four daughters of a fierce Baptist, Nathan Price, Kingsolver clearly captures the realities this family and mission went through during their move to the Congo. The four daughters were raised in Atlanta Georgia in the 1950's therefore entering the Congo with preconceived racial beliefs, and a very different way of life than they would soon experience. Throughout The Poisonwood Bible Kingsolver explores the importance and impact of faith, and a religion based on your own private beliefs. Orleanna Price, the wife and mother, of this struggling family is a very honest woman, lacking some of the stronger religious background of which her husband possesses. Orleanna, struggles with the hardships of daily life; toting and disinfecting the family's water, scrambling to make ends meet and trying to protect her family from the myriad terrors of the bush. Orleanna uses irony to describe the early days of her marriage. As she describes them, the days when there was still room for laughter in her husband's evangelical calling, before her pregnancies embarrassed him, before he returned from World War II a different man, a man who planned ''to save more souls than had perished on the road from Bataan.'' Her husband, Nathan Price, had escaped those miseries simply by luck, and knowing it curled his heart ''like a piece of hard shoe leather.'' As her husband continually preaches the good Lord's word, she is faced with what seems to her to be the more important burdens of life, survival and keeping her family safe and sane. She doesn't appear to have nearly so strong of a religious background as her husband would have hoped for her, however, throughout the novel it is made quite clear that she is in fact a better person than her husband could have ever hoped to be. Her daughter, Leah, captures her mothers religion very well when she says, "my father wears his faith like the bronze breastplate of God's foot soldiers, while our mother's is more like a good cloth coat with a secondhand fit.'' This quote is very true, as her father is the evangelical missionary leader who parades his religion around, as he craves for the reputation of being a "good person," because he preaches the bible. Orleanna does nothing of the sort she worships the lord, because she believes in him, and his word, she does not praise him, simply to look good. As Mathew 6:1 states, "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven," Nathan Price, is very hypocritical as he does his good deeds to be noticed, while Orleanna does them out of faith and moral righteousness. Rachel is the oldest of the four daughters, at 15 years of age, the whiny would-be beauty queen who "cares for naught but...

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