What is the main theme of the Poisonwood Bible?

Asked By: Sevda Nagaswamy | Last Updated: 17th April, 2020
Category: books and literature fiction
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The Poisonwood Bible is a political allegory. Though the story it tells focuses on the guilt of five women, for example their private guilt over the death of a daughter and sister, and their public guilt over the role they played in Africa's tragedies, it is really about the guilt that all United States citizens share.

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Similarly one may ask, what does the snake symbolize in Poisonwood Bible?

Green mamba snake Although the snake is feared and ultimately causes the death of Ruth May, it is also symbolic of the spirit of the jungle. The snake is Ruth May's hiding place, the muntu that she becomes after her death.

Secondly, what happens at the end of Poisonwood Bible? In the end, however, she finds peace when she and Adah return to Africa briefly. As they are shopping in the market with Leah and Rachel, the spirit of Ruth May looks on and tells her mother to forgive herself for Ruth May's death.

Keeping this in consideration, what genre is The Poisonwood Bible?

Historical Fiction

What is the tone of the Poisonwood Bible?

The tone of this novel changers during the story. It ranges from unexpected to disgusted to betrayed. Many things starting with the actions of the Nathan and Leah cause many of these different tones. The attitude of the family and country is something to also include.

27 Related Question Answers Found

What does the Okapi symbolize in Poisonwood Bible?

The first—and last—important symbol in the novel is the okapi; the strange animal that Orleanna witnesses during her walk through the jungles of the Congo. Ultimately, then, the okapi is a symbol for the importance of all life, and of the unpredictability of the world.

What does Methuselah symbolize?

Methuselah, the Parrot
The parrot left by Brother Fowles serves as a symbol for the doomed Republic of Congo. Methuselah is denied freedom for most of his life, and while he is kept in a cage and fed by his masters, he loses the ability to fend for himself.

What does Poisonwood Bible mean?

The novel got its title from Nathan Price's error in his sermon: "Tata Jesus is bangala," a word that could mean precious, but pronounced the way he said it meant "poisonwood." That is a perfect title; it is exactly what this book is about -- the way certain things get lost in the translation between cultures.

Why did Ruth may die?

At some point, Ruth May stops taking her malaria pills and gets very, very sick. Nelson, the Prices' houseboy, gives her something called a nkisi. If she thinks she's going to die, it will make her disappear and move somewhere else. When a green mamba snake bites Ruth May, yep, she dies.

What does Ruth may symbolize?


In the end Ruth May stands for the Congo and the forest. She says it is where she feels the safest and strongest. b. She decides that as a green mamba snake in the tree is the safest place for her, and she also likes to see the whole world from such a high point.

Why does Mama Tataba leave?

Mama Tataba is the Price's domestic servant when they arrive in Kilanga. She quits in protest when Revered Price refuses to stop trying to baptize children in the river, a gesture that offends her because of the many children lost to crocodile attacks in that same river.

What happens in the Poisonwood Bible?

Plot Overview. In 1959 an overzealous Baptist minister named Nathan Price drags his wife and four daughters deep into the heart of the Congo on a mission to save the unenlightened souls of Africa. The five women narrate the novel. From the outset, the attitudes of the five women cover a wide spectrum.

What page did Ruth may die?

Ruth May's Death. On page 275, Ruth May's fever shot up to 105 and on page 276, she was "risen". Ruth May's death brings the internal drama of the book to a start. All of the lines of the plot play into the event, making it seem almost predictable in a sense.

Who wrote The Poisonwood Bible?

Barbara Kingsolver

How long is the Poisonwood Bible?


The average reader will spend 9 hours and 2 minutes reading The Poisonwood Bible at 250 WPM (words per minute).

Who is the protagonist in The Poisonwood Bible?

protagonist · Arguably, the protagonist of the story is the only Price who is not given a voice, the father Nathan. It is his blind religious fanaticism that brings the family into the Congo, and it is in reaction to him that all of the women must find their own paths.

How does Nathan die in Poisonwood Bible?

When a boat full of children from the village he was in was attacked by a crocodile, the village blamed Nathan. They tried to chase him out of the village, but he resisted and ended up being surrounded in a watchtower. The villagers set fire to the tower and he burned to death.

Why is the book called Poisonwood Bible?

Why do you think the book is called The Poisonwood Bible? Nathan's mistake is a symptom of his larger cultural arrogance, and so the title The Poisonwood Bible calls attention to this arrogance. Nathan's mistake is also significant for its content. Calling Jesus a poisonous plant is telling in itself.

Is The Poisonwood Bible nonfiction?

A Non-Fiction Book Inspired It.
If you're curious about the political upheaval that affects the book's central characters, turn to the text that inspired Kingsolver in the first place.

Where are the prices from In The Poisonwood Bible?

The Poisonwood Bible. The Poisonwood Bible (1998), by Barbara Kingsolver, is a best-selling novel about a missionary family, the Prices, who in 1959 move from the U.S. state of Georgia to the village of Kilanga in the Belgian Congo, close to the Kwilu River.

Is kilanga a real place?

Located in the Republic of Congo, Kilanga is a relatively small town located in the Pool district. Kilanga has a humid climate and is classified as a tropical savanna. The area is sparsely populated at about 44 people/ square mile. Most of Kilanga is not cultivated and the area is prone to experiencing droughts.