The Poisonwood Bible Reading Assignment 1
1. The novel opens with a Narrative directive presumably, to the reader:
Imagine a ruin so strange it must have never happened. First, picture the forest. I want you to be its conscience, the eyes in the tree.
What is the effect of this directive on you as a reader?
Orleanna Price narrates in the beginning, unfolding the story line for us. Towards the beginning of her narrative directive, she is explaining the past to us in a third person point of view, not revealing who the mother was in the jungle. Later on, she reveals that the weary mother was indeed, herself. Her narrative directive made me feel questionable but yet sympathetic. Her voice seems guilty and pained as she mentions “Southern Baptist by marriage, mother to children living and dead.” Makes me wonder what happened and how she lost one of her daughters.
-What does it suggest about that novel that’s about to unfold?
As Orleanna reveals, she was married to a Southern Baptist who sacrificed everything and brought his family down to The Congo. She also reveals that “She is inhumanly alone.” She expresses bitterness towards her husband, and grief, pain, and guilt towards her children, alive and deceased. Orleanna previously believed that it was going to be a good thing and worth sacrificing everything for, including your own children’s needs. But, as Orleanna explains to us she shows that everything went poorly and they seem to be in a bad state now.
-As Orleanna continues her narration, who does the “you” that she is speaking to appear to be?
One of her deceased daughters. As it shows through her narration, she expresses guilt and pity.
-To what great disasters does she allude?
She hints that an apocalypse like event occurred and that there was a “darkness among the waters” of the tribal land.
-Why is she telling the story looking back on Africa while the girls seem to be telling it as if it is happening in Africa?