The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Essay

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Essay

Length: 915 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 of dealing with guilt is to saturate one’s self in it. Leah Price, the stronger of the twins, gained an increasing amount of guilt while secluded from American society in the Congo. After being submersed in their culture for a few months and learning of their selfless ways, she soon looks upon her own past and sees regrets she had previously overlooked. For the first time she states that she actually feels bad about taking strength away from Adah while in the womb, leading to her presently crippled state. After Ruth May dies and they leave Kilanga, Leah’s guilt seems to pile up. Even though none of the girls were to blame for Ruth May’s death, she is haunted by a lingering feeling that she could have done something to prevent it. It is revealed from a journal entry when she is middle aged that she still regrets the death of Ruth May and reflects on it most nights, looking to Anatole for comfort. She suffers and will suffer the rest of her life, forcing herself to relive that faithful day. She never truly comes to terms with it and gains...

... middle of paper ...

...mption. He became a hollow shell of what he used to be, no longer living his life to his true potential.
Throughout The Poisonwood Bible each member of the Price family expresses their guilt in very different ways. Leah turns to saturating herself in it, Adah helps others around her, Rachel ignores it, and Nathan lets the guilt consume him. Each family member expressed their hidden burdens in very different ways, exemplifying the different method that people unconsciously use when dealing with their own personal regrets. In the end, moving on and forgiving one’s self are the biggest and most beneficial steps to dealing with past guilt. Even though in the present guilt is almost painful, it is also a core part of being human. Without guilt and regret, individuals would not grow as they age, instead staying the same and never fully assimilating to each other.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Poisonwood Bible and the Life of Barbara Kingsolver Essay example

- Humans have the unique ability to create artwork. Be that in the form of a painting, musical composition, or work of fiction, creativity is the ability to rearrange available materials to create something unique and innovative. Many writers view writing as a way to express their deepest ideas and emotions creatively. American journalist Earnest Hemmingway believed that “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Writers often will use their own life experiences to re-experience important parts of their lives and translate it into a story to share with the world....   [tags: literary and biographical analysis]

Better Essays
1132 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

- Explication of theme: The Poisonwood Bible exemplifies the importance of language, especially foreign languages. It is fairly obvious that language plays a role in this work- an English-speaking white Christian family moves to a rich, multicultural society. This new society has picked up on “easy” English phrases, but also speaks French, and its native African languages. Language can be seen as not only a sign of knowledge and scholarship, but a sign of close or open-mindedness. Language is associated with imperialism (especially in this novel, and especially relating to the United States)....   [tags: Importance of Language, Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
1610 words (4.6 pages)

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver Essay

- What Is The True Religion. The realities of Congo rescued her from the mental enslavement of her father, Nathan Price. Nathan, a Baptist evangelist journeyed with his four daughters and wife to the Belgian Congo with his mission to save the unenlightened souls of the Congolese people. His aim was to accomplish this through his strict biblical sanctions and his firm belief in his Christian faith. As a child who respects their parents' religion and belief, Leah was compassionate and genuine about her father's faith and his outlook on life....   [tags: American Literature]

Better Essays
848 words (2.4 pages)

The Path of the Redeemed Essay

- The path of redemption and salvation presents itself with a different meaning for each character of The Poisonwood Bible. Their process of redeeming or deliverance from destruction shows itself in unique ways with all the characters. On a level it is the story of a family torn apart by the quest of “a man driven by guilt to save those unable to save themselves.” (Ender, Samantha) However after looking more closely at the characters within the family the realization that the children each represent multiple aspects of this “guilt driven man” and as the reader sees them change and grow the image of the changing points in his life....   [tags: The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver]

Better Essays
1220 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Africa Turns The Lives Of A Family Upside Down

- Many cultures make clear distinctions between the social status of males and females. In most places, the man is the one who carries leadership roles and the woman is the one who supports the man, but even so, the future is not always guaranteed. The woman will always have a little bit of want for freedom and need for acknowledgement within her heart. In Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Nathan Price, the male authority figure of the household, limits the Price women’s ability to aim for higher goals in life, which includes a better living environment and education....   [tags: Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible]

Better Essays
1590 words (4.5 pages)

To what extent is Cultural Arrogance a driving force of conflict in The Poisonwood Bible?

- The Poisonwood Bible is a novel written by Barbara Kingsolver, portraying the life of the Price family, coming from Georgia to the Congo as a missionary family. By analyzing the cultural arrogance Kingsolver includes in the novel, it is possible to understand the many compositions the bring books, in relation to how the people live in comparison to different geographical and economical locations of the country, why certain things are necessary to happen and the relation of nature and man. Analyzing the cultural arrogance allows the readers to understand the two major perspectives in the book, and how they interact with each other....   [tags: Barbara Kingsolver, Congo, man vs nature]

Better Essays
3363 words (9.6 pages)

Essay on The Poisonwood Bible as a Catalog of Romanticism

- The Poisonwood Bible as a Catalog of Romanticism        In The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, the romantic standards that are associated with literature during the American Renaissance are evident. This popular novel, a New York Times Bestseller, embodies the concept of Romanticism with its gothic darkness, themes of loss and nostalgia, and a strong captivity narrative. The presence of a wise child and recurring double language are essential to the plot of the story. Nathan Price's misguided mission to save souls in the Congo is transformed into an evil that invades a type of Paradise and so, the reader realizes immediately that this twisted attempt to Christianize the savages...   [tags: Poisonwood Bible Essays]

Better Essays
3766 words (10.8 pages)

Griffin's Black Like Me and Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible Essay

-     John Howard Griffin's novel, Black Like Me, and Barbara Kingsolver's novel, The Poisonwood Bible, describe journeys made by white Americans into black societies in the early 1960's. Griffin, a white journalist for Sepia magazine, took medication to darken his skin and entered the United States' Deep South to experience the plight of African Americans (Bain 195). His book is a true account of his experiences as a black man. Kingsolver writes of a man who, in many ways, made a similar journey....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
2317 words (6.6 pages)

Poisonwood Bible Essay

- Poisonwood Bible 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....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Better Essays
1936 words (5.5 pages)

Essay about Kingsolver

- In the three books, The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees and Pigs In Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver chose to use the stylistic device of multiple narrators as a creative way to carry out the themes of the novel and establish the tone. This device is used extensively in The Poisonwood Bible in which Kingsolver states that when she was preparing to write, she knew that she wanted to use this structure, because it was it was “necessary for the theme of this novel even though I knew it would be quite difficult to pull off, from the point of view of craft....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
768 words (2.2 pages)