An Analysis of Poetry in, "The Poisonwood Bible"

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The inclusion of “This is my letter to the world” emphasizes the growth of the speaker. During the Price’s stay in Kilanga, the family witnessed hundreds of deaths. These were tragic occurrences in their eyes but to the natives, they were simply nature’s message. At the beginning of the novel Adah would have received the world’s writings with a wide-open mailbox. Being a character with a persecution complex and a slight case of self-pity, she would have welcomed death as a sweet escape to the mistreated life she had been placed in. Therefore, when the world so kindly delivered its message of death to those around her, Adah looked on with envy. Why was the world not writing to her? As the novel progresses, however, her outlook is transformed.

When Adah ventured into the village she was incapacitated by burdens of pity and resentment- burdens that were much more debilitating than any amount of supplies ever could be. Up until the night of the ants, Adah really believed she was satisfied with being swept away; so, when she found the power to pull herself up she surprised herself. Looking back on the night she realized that she was not simply floating above the surface of the earth but had taken root in the ground. In essence, living mattered. The weight from the beginning was replaced by the question of why she received the fortune of being spared by the “hands [she] could not see.” This, in turn, ignited her fire for life. Kingsolver’s inclusion of the poem helps show the difference between what Adah bore on the way in and what she carried on the way out.

There are two possible narrators for Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the Truth…” The book clearly shows that the inclusion of the poem marks the moment when Adah decides to speak. Up until that point she truly was a silent observer and picked up the idiosyncrasies of the other characters and of the Congo. Because of this, she bore the most truth within the Price family. When she and Orleanna returned to Bethlehem...
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