The Poisonwood Bible Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

Throughout a lifetime, many things are gained; experience, wisdom, knowledge, as well as a sure sense of self. But along with all these great things come regret, guilt, and shame of past events. Everyone deals with these in different ways, sometimes turning to religion and denial as coping mechanisms. In the novel The Poisonwood Bible, By Barbara Kingsolver, each member of the Price family deals with a personal guilt either gained while on their mission in the Congo or long before. This novel exemplifies the different types of guilt the Price family experienced throughout their stay in the Congo, and shows various means of reconciliation and forgiveness as the guilt is absolved.
One method ...view middle of the document...

Because she was never able to come to terms with any of the past events, her soul will forever be burdened. Forgiveness of one’s self is freeing but first one must accept that the past is irreversible.
Another way to deal with one’s past regrets is to find ways to cooperate, such as searching for logical explanations and finding peace in logic instead of letting feelings take over. Adah Price is a prime example of this solution to dealing with guilt. Coming out of the Congo and back into America, Adah seems to be the only one who has kept her sanity. After the many painstaking, life-changing months in the Congo, Adah responds by turning to science for its accuracy and reliability. She is also the only one of the remaining Price family that is able to easily and willingly conform back to American society. She quickly accepts her sister’s death and goes into medical science, specifically prenatal care and research. Her response to her guilt is active, trying to save other children when she couldn’t save her own sister or even herself when she was born crippled. This way to deal with guilt leads to the most change and advancement, forgiving one’s self and coming to peace with the past.
Another way to deal with past regrets that is brought to light is the idea of repressing that memory in the first place. Unlike her sisters, Rachel Price is the only one who ignores her guilt. After Ruth May’s death and their departure from Nathan, Rachel rarely ever brings these major events up again. Instead she talks about her new life, speaking about her newest boy toy and complaining about the African’s culture. The night of Ruth May’s death, since Rachel is the oldest it would be thought that she’d be the first to try to stop the others from going outside. Instead she passive aggressively whined for them not to go and check the chicken coop, soon following them when they left the house. Instead of feeling a mass amount of guilt, even more than Leah should feel, she escapes by keeping herself constantly busy at her hotel. This way she won’t ever have to stop and look back very deeply at the past, never having to overanalyze that fated night.
Even though Nathan Price is not a narrator of the novel, he is...

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