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Poisonwood Bible: Orleana Price November 3, 2006

Posted by bairdnicole in Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

I think that because the “Books” are so long in this book that we’ll break it up more by the little sections that she has. So, this is the first! Also, I will also post questions to answer throughout the book instead of waiting until the end. We will still have our discussion at the end of the month, but in addition, there will be questions for each little section.

Question for Orleana Price Section:
On first take, do you view Orleana as strong? Or weak? Why?


1. bethany3boys - November 3, 2006

Great idea to do some questions as we are reading. This will help me with my lack of memory due to each child sucking a little more of it from me. HEE HEE.

Anyhow as to your question. I thing Orleana sees herself as weak. Although I see her as strong.  She says on page 9

“What is the conqueror’s wife, if not a conquest herself?”

She also states

“I had washed up there on the riptide of my husband’s confidence and the undertow of my children’s needs”

She talks about returning and going to the library “believing every crack in my sould could be chinked with a book”

She seems to describe her time in Africa as following her husband and taking care of her children. Her children even say she has no life of her own. To which she responds,
“They have no idea, One has only a life of one’s own”

Although she seems to see herself as weak and just going with the tide so to speak I see her as strong. I think it would take an incredibly strong woman to follow her husband to Africa children in tow and to take care of them in a strange country with different ways. I think it takes a strong woman to set aside your desires to care for others. It may seem like she has no life according to her children. But I believe we all have choice and are able to decide how we want to respond to what life throws at us. What life threw at her might have been a tough bag to handle but she chose to embrace it…at least at this point (I have never read the book before so my thoughts might change). So I see her as strong, she might be quiet and the type to go with the flow and might think herself weak for that but I see that as strong. It is easy in life to do what we want…it is hard in life to server others.

2. Jane Swanson - November 5, 2006

Good thoughts, Bethany.
Hmm, Orleana, weak or strong.
I think she has regret, remorse and a touch of bitterness.

I agree that she sees herself as weak and that it does take a certain strength to follow “a man who could never love me….it would have trespassed on his devotion to all mankind.” She seems filled with regret & bitterness, maybe, that her children “ruled her life” and she “never had more than five minutes peace unbroken”.

I see her as cautious, yet wanting desperately to tell her story. I love how she describes it,
“So you see, I have my own story, and increasingly in my old age it weighs on me. Now that every turn in the weather whistles an ache through my bones, I stir in bed and the memories rise out of me like a buzz of flies from a carcass. I crave to be rid of them but find myself being careful, too, choosing which ones to let out into the light.”
That description touches a bit of my own soul as old age “whistles through my bones.” I want to release a few flies of my own and can identify with her reticence to let too much out into the light after carefully guarding my heart for so many years.

So, Orleana weak or strong?

I’ll go with human……being a mix of both.

3. anneswanson3 - November 6, 2006

STOP! I am still waiting to get my book!

Alright continue on…

Amazon.com sent my book to the wrong address…I could just go to the library I suppose.

I will be in on this soon! 🙂

4. Nicole - November 7, 2006

I love what you said Jane…human: a mix of both. That is exactly how I see her as well. Like Bethany said, she’s going to the dark jungles of Africa with a headstrong husband and 4, yes FOUR girls! She has no idea what to expect and yet she’s going. However, like Jane said, she has this bitterness inside her. To me, bitterness always makes me see someone as weak, someone who let a wrong fester and grow instead of doing something about it. I view that as weakness. Neverthless, she does appear to be a complex character…we shall see as the book goes on. Of course, this being my 2nd time through, I’m seeing even more aspects than before…it’s going to be fun!

5. anneswanson3 - November 13, 2006

Got my book today! Finally.

I think I agree for the most part, she is a little of both. Her confidence is definately lacking…but she does desire to be strong for her husband and her girls.
I wonder how they came to the Congo, because it seems like her husbands mission more than the family. He made the decision and she went along with it without discussion? Maybe now she wishes she would have said something then because she has lost herself?
At the same time though she does say she has a story to tell but it is a hard one full of bitterness that she is hesitant to reveal too much of, but she wants to let go, be strong once again, for herself.

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