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The Poisonwood Bible: What We Carried Out November 24, 2006

Posted by bairdnicole in Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

How does Kingsolver’s symbolism relate to the women of the Price family and their reaction to Africa? What did they “take away”?


1. Karen - November 29, 2006

I just want to say a quick thing about my friend, Rachel. I love this character. What a crack-up!!! She says on page 516, “You have your way of thinking and it has its, and never the train ye shall meet.”
Her constant flow of cliches totally cracks me up! I find them to be so unbelievable: Rarely do you find a person like this. It’s great. We learn cliches from listening to other people or from reading. If she is a reader then she would most certainly know how to spell the words/phrases that she quotes or, at the very least, share them within their proper context. If she is getting them from hearing other people…from what other people did she hear this stuff? Her dad? She has been speaking this way from the beginning of the novel. The other characters don’t use these phrases. Her sisters read a lot and were praised for it. Is she attempting to compete with them? “…never the train ye shall meet.” Hysterical! I would love to have met her at a State dinner with her ambassador husband communicating with other dignitaries in this way. This great writing.

2. Karen - November 29, 2006

BTW Where are you guys? Still recovering from Thanksgiving?

3. bairdnicole - November 29, 2006

Yeah, Rachel is seriously hilarious. I love her phrases and she says them with such arrogance and yet she is so arrogantly wrong! I think she is attempting to keep up on the level of Leah and Adah.

4. bairdnicole - November 29, 2006

Leah: Leah didn’t take anything away. She simply became part of Africa, but doesn’t ever seem to be at peace with the injustice of the people in Africa. She speaks of the hardships and then compares this to the richness of the U.S. but it seems as if she thinks the only way to help the situation is to become destitute. And yet, I don’t know if she stays in Congo because she LOVES it, or because she feels guilty.

Rachel: For me I think Rachel totally gets what she deserves. She didn’t take anything away. She didn’t put anything in, and didn’t take anything away. It is kind of amazing the absolute callousness she can refer to her family with and how she appears to completely block out her time in the Congo. She’d rather just forget it.

Adah: Adah’s story becomes so interesting to me once she leaves the Congo. She says on pg. 413:

“This is what I carrid out of the Congo on my crooked little back. In our seventeen months in Kilanga, thirty-one children died, including Ruth May. Why not Adah? I can think of no answer that exonerates me.”

Also on pg. 443:

“Africa has slipped the floor out from under my righeous house, my Adah moral code. How sure I wlways felt before, how smug…Adah authorized to despise on and all…What I carried out of Congo on my crooked little back is a ferocious uncertainty about the worth of a life.”

It’s like Adah realized that her life was valuable. I really enjoyed her new perspective. It made her question her cynical view and look at unmerited favor differently.

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