Character Representation of Christianity in Poisonwood Bible

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The strong commentary on Christianity in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is strongly evident throughout the novel. The narrative itself is divided into ‘books' that mirror those of the Bible, including: Genesis, The Revelation, and Exodus. Throughout the progression of the novel, the structure of the novel strays from a biblical reflection with the addition of new ‘books' which denote Kingsolver's personal appellations. Kingsolver's characters each represent a different attitude towards Christianity. This suggests that Kingsolver's rewriting of the Christian text and adapting it to her own story is in response to the will and progression of her characters. The father of The Poisonwood Bible represents the weaknesses of religion. Nathan is a strong evangelist who is consumed entirely by his faith. The garden he plants upon the family's arrival in Kilanga is symbolic of his attempt to convert the locals. As he struggles to grow his non-indigenous crops, he also struggles to plant the concept of Baptism in Kilanga. "He declared that he would make them grow, in the name of God, or he would plant again…" (63). It is clear that his methods of gardening were of no use in a tropical forest; ergo, his method of gardening resembles his method of religion. The land that he attempts to cultivate symbolizes the new land of Kilanga which he has intruded in. His failure in his garden is like his failure to his church. It is evident that his character is in a struggle to compete with Africa's very nature. Ultimately his unchanging attitudes and strict values lead to his own destruction and Kilanga's rejection of the Christian faith. Orleanna Price is the wife of Nathan and represents the consequences of blind faith. She submits to the will of her husband and struggles to provide for her children in the harsh African environment. "Maybe I'll even confess the truth, that I rode in with the horsemen and beheld the apocalypse, but still I'll insist I was only a captive...
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