In the book The Poisonwood Bible by Barbra Kingsolver, she uses motifs and themes such as issues over the western control, religion, and the death and force of nature. In literature authors use themes as a message to create points that will help make the big picture complete. Kingsolver is using multiple themes to connect what she is portraying from her writing to the reader. These themes come in different variations, but help us understand the core of the novel and get the real meaning on what it is about.
The entire book is practically based in the Congo of Africa. In the Congo there are the issues of western control and western arrogance throughout the different countries. Kingsolver uses the theme of western hegemony in both the political and local levels. At the local level we see what Kingsolver s trying to get at with religion among the people. Nathan who is the father of the Price family is bringing his family over to Africa with the solemn purpose of converting the native people of the Congo into Christianity. In reality the natives are basing their religion and their beliefs on what god is going to give them the most of. They want their beliefs to be based around how well the gods are going to give them what they need. For instance they are wanting more food and to be protected from diseases. Nathan Price through out the novel doesn’t understand why they natives are not listening to him. He doesn’t understand why they do not want their souls to be saved, but instead are more focused on that surviving is more important to their culture than being saved and having the chances of eternal life.
One the other side of the western hegemony theme there is the arrogance factor that plays into role throughout the book. We meet a character named Eben Axleroot, and is a male that is from the US that give the Price family supplies when ever he is around. Farther on in the book, Ruth May who is the youngest daughter in the Price family finds out a secret about Axleroot and why he really is in the Congo, which is diamonds. Having diamonds stored away in his plane shows the greed that is in Axleroot’s personality as well as the arrogance and disrespect he has for Africa. With this being said Axleroot is partaking in racism and is going against the law. He is taking advantage of this because he is stealing their resources and Americans in the Congo are seen as better off and more superior than to the poor natives, so therefore if this was reversed it doesn’t seem the same.
The title of the book shows that religion is a major importance in themes of the book. The titles of the separate book within the novel represent stories and books from the old and new testaments in the bible. The whole novel is talking about how they come over as missionaries and that Nathan has became obsessed with the matter of trying to baptize the native children. One scene from the novel that shows the religious...