Poisonwood Bible: Analysis of Ruth May

Topics: The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver, Oprah's Book Club Pages: 2 (535 words) Published: January 23, 2014

PQCT: Ruth May Price

Point/Purpose: The classic novel The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, features, among her three other sisters and mother, Ruth May Price, who is the 5 year old daughter of Reverend Nathan Price, who has been stationed in the Congo for a mission trip in the name of the Baptist Church in the year 1959, a time when many of the racial biases and attitudes toward Africans and women are still prevalent in the US, especially the Prices home state of Georgia. These biases and views have rubbed off on Ruth May, who as a young child absorbs and regurgitates all that she hears and experiences, which is why Ruth May represents the ignorance of some Western views towards the customs and general bias towards anyone with an African background. However, as she is integrated into her new society, Ruth May is able to befriend the entirety of the children in the settlement.

Quotation/question: The biased way that Ruth May has been taught to see her future, along with how young and uneducated she is shown when she says, “Father says a girls can’t go to college because they’ll pour water in your shoes,” (pg 117). The way that Ruth May talks about her own gender and the Africans is very ignorant. Commentary: Ruth May has been affected by her surroundings very dramatically. The way that she thinks about Africans and women in a lesser manner than American men shows makes her situation a perfect example of nature vs. nurture. In this case, Ruth May is a product of her past, and her biased outlook on life is due to the way that she was brought up in the southern United States, which was a hotbed for racism in the early to mid-20th century. This state of mind is not permanent, however. Ruth May is just a child, and it is believed that children’s minds are the most moldable, so even though she had a prejudiced mind Ruth May has changed by hanging around the African kids. Ruth May is not only a character, as she could very well be an attempt by the...
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