The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Essay

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Essay

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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...


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...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.





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