The Poisonwood Bible: Analysis of Orleanna Price

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Dahlia Dominguez
Mr. Waterhouse
AP Literature- Period 2
3 December 2012

Character Analysis: Orleanna Price

The Poinsonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, tells the story of a Southern Baptist family spending their time on a missionary trip to the Congo. This story, which takes place over a span of 30 years, primarily engrosses the Price’s involvement with the Congolese people, a kind very different and much more “savage” than themselves. The Poinsonwood Bible, told by Reverend Price’s wife, Orleanna, and four daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May, shows the character development of all these women. At first, adjusting to such a different world, all five are not quite sure of how to react to the change in environment. Yet, as one goes through the book, it is easy to see how much they not only adjust but learn to interact with them. Such a character development helps to show Kingsolver’s main theme: dealing with an individual guilt. Throughout this novel, it is easy to point out great guilt from all five women. Guilt pertaining to the death of Ruth May, or the treatment of the Congolese, or even the superiority of the United States, Kingsolver uses these women to make such a theme clear. Although this main theme of guilt is shown through all the girls, it is shown mainly through the wife, Orleanna Price.

Orleanna Price, starts the book with a very depressing image that makes the reader wonder what the book is really about. It makes the reader suspect the bad news to come further in the book. However, as the reader reads on, they come to learn more and more about Orleanna. Orleanna Price, a once happy girl who appreciated nature and what it has to offer, suddenly became anxiously cautious when she married her husband, Nathan Price. It seems as through throughout the book, Oleanna becomes a slave to her husband. On page 8 of this book, Mrs. Price says, “Once has only a life of one’s own” (Kingsolver 8). In other words, Orleanna is living a life...
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