Starting over

Topics: Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible, Light Pages: 4 (712 words) Published: February 22, 2007
Starting Over

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,...
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