The Roller Coaster of The Poisonwood Bible | Teen Ink

The Roller Coaster of The Poisonwood Bible

March 29, 2016
By MadisonHudson BRONZE, Paragould, Arkansas
MadisonHudson BRONZE, Paragould, Arkansas
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is like a box of Chocolates. You never now what your going to get."

“What happened to us in the Congo was simply the bad luck of two opposite worlds crashing into each other, causing tragedy. After something like that, you can only go your own way according to what’s in your heart. And in my family, all our hearts seem to have whole different things inside.”(Kingsolver 465) Fitting in was hard for the Price family as Nathan moves them to the congo even after the mission league said it was not a good idea. They try there hardest to fit in but it doesn't happen because the Price family can’t compete with the congo. There are a few specific points where the family is upset with Nathan for moving them to the Congo even though they don’t want to. That would be considered a disquietude. A pleasure would be when Adah is finally able to walk without a limp. In The Poisonwood Bible, there are many pleasures and disquietudes.

Nathan is an “abusive” father but not in the way that you think. He doesn’t hit them or beat them in such a way that leaves marks on them. He is abusive for the way he treats them such as, if he doesn’t like what they said, they would have to write a bible verse, one of his choice, as many times as he said. He did not like them talking back or saying anything he didn't approve of.  After Nathan's death it was like a calm came over the entire family. Even though everyone had already moved on and away the characters were still in a state of awe knowing we don’t have to worry about him anymore. Nathan’s death was one that was tragic. Even though he did deserve everything that happened to him, his death was harsh.

Another disquietude in The Poisonwood Bible is when Ruth May dies. This was a sorrowful time because her death was a tragic accident. No one saw it coming which made it even harder. For example, if your grandpa was sick for a long time everyone knew that his time was coming soon, but that is not what happened when Ruth May died. Her death was sudden. An example of that would be if your Uncle was in a car crash and passed away one night on his way home. It is harder to grasp her death as well because she is the one who kept the family on their feet. Ruth May was the only one who “enjoyed” the congo as well. From her perspective, the congo was just another home and another place.  She adapted to the kids and taught them to play games such as Mother May I. She was so young when they moved, that it did not have such a hard take on her like it did Rachel or Leah and Adah. (111)

Even though there are many disquietudes in The Poisonwood Bible, there are also many pleasures. One pleasure or satisfaction would be when Adah is able to walk without a limp. When her and her twin Leah were in the womb, Adah said, “ I was cannibalized by my sister.” She now has a birth defect called hemiplegia because her sister laid on her in the womb. Hemiplegia is a paralysis of one side of your body. Paralysis is where you have loss of muscle function. When Adah and her family moved to the congo she said, “Nobody cares that I am bad on one side because they've all got their own handicap.”(33) When they tried fixing her condition they put her in a wheelchair for six months so her body would basically start all over again, so when she would get up after the six months her body would work right. Her body would not know any better so she would walk normal. Adah now walks without a limp.

There are many more pleasures in the novel. Another pleasure would be Leah growing up. She has become a wonderful person and a great mom. She is now married to Anatole and has three kids; Pascal, Taniel, Patrice and Martin. Although Leah has had an easier life then some of her sisters it has still been hard on her. When Ruth May got bit in the chicken pen, she died in Leah's arms. Leah could not do anything. Pascal told her to go get milk and Mama Mwanza but she was in so much shock, she could not do anything but stand there. Leah also came down with Malaria when Orleanna ditched Nathan, took the kids, and fled the jungle, but all of these obstacles have made Leah a more mature adult.(389)

Nathan also  has many disquietudes and they are all a chain reaction. From the beginning Leah does not see his faults because she has blinders on. Leah tries to be his favorite daughter by following him around and helping him out in the garden. Nathan hardly even notices her. Rachel, Adah and Ruth May have seen all his faults since the beginning and now the older Leah gets she sees all of them and starts to back off from her dad. Nathan is stubborn beyond all disbelief. He refuses to hear anything that comes out of his family's mouth and his bad judgement caused their garden to die. He also caused Ruth May's death because he would not let his family leave the congo when they were told to leave because it wasn’t safe. Leah says in the novel that “ her father needs permission only from the Saviour” and that he was not going to listen to his family, especially a house full of girls. Nathan now has no one and is all alone. (417)

Rachel Price is a glib and flippant individual.  She may seem stupid but she has had a hard life. She is also an emotional person as well. When the family first moved to the congo, Rachel was very vain. Her one possession she brought from home was a hand held mirror. At one specific point in the book she says “ We tromped off off to church in the same old shoes and dresses we’d worn all the other African Sundays so far. No white gloves, it goes without saying. And no primping, because the only mirror we have in the house is my faux-ivory hand mirror brought from home.”(43) She only cared about herself and appearance. From the beginning you would think that she is a dumb, uneducated and a manipulative girl and that is true, but the further into the novel you read she becomes a wealthy business woman. She owns a hotel called the Equaterial that her husband Remy left her. She has had three husbands and now she has no one. Rachel has learned throughout her life in the Congo that there are more important things than your looks because now that she is older and not as pretty anymore she doesn't really care what people think. Rachel has overcome many obstacles since there move to the congo, whether it was having to stand up and help out the family since Orleanna and Ruth May were sick or “pretend” marry Eeben Axelroot at the age of 16. Most teenagers will never have to live the life Rachel and her sisters had to live so never judge someone for the way they are until you have been in there shoes.(461)

Overall, life in the Congo was not the greatest. The children and Orleanna were put through a lot when Nathan moved them to the Congo. The pleasures and disquietudes in The Poisonwood Bible have shaped the characters and made them the mature adults they are today.  All in all, the Congo has been hard on the Price family. They never really fit in, but I mean we as people weren't born to fit in. We were born to stand out.

The author's comments:

Don't be afraid to stand out. You weren't born to fit in.

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