In a battle between light and darkness, which would win? Where light is, darkness
cannot exist. In her novel The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver proves this point through
the eyes of three women who persevere through hardships. As the journals of Orleanna, Leah,
and Adah unfold, three separate meanings of "walk forward into the light" are found.
Kingsolver uses her excellent sense of diction to weave heavy-hearted words throughout
Orleanna's journals to express her sufferings following Ruth May's death. In her journals,
Orleanna states, "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 witness. What is the conqueror's wife if
not a conquest herself?" implying that although the guilt should fall to her husband, Nathan,
she too feels the pain because she is tightly knit to him. Her darkness is obviously a guilt-ridden
conscience. Apart from the heartache, Orleanna feels responsible for her daughter's early
passing. She believes her daughter's absence partially her fault, having stayed in Africa long
after she had intended. The light is her garden. She returns home and plants a beautiful flower
and vegetable garden all her own. This garden reminds her that she left not only her house in the
village, but also the pain and eventually the guilt, and she comes to accept a new life.
Leah's loss of faith proves problematic during her stay in Africa. Throughout her life,
Leah yearns for God's approval and acceptance. She does everything in her power to earn His
favor. When the fire ants swarm the village, her faith in her God dissipates. The darkness in this
case is Leah's sudden disbelief in a loving God. Metaphors are abundant in Leah's journals. On
page 94, she compares her father's demonstration garden to a funeral parlor, full of flowers, but
no produce. Also,...