Date of publication: 2017-08-30 18:50
“There are few ambitious, successful and beautiful novels. Lucky for us, we have one now, in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible ... this awed reviewer hardly knows where to begin.”
— JANE SMILEY, WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Ruth May is the Price daughter and maintains a characteristically independent spirit and physicality. She spends her time climbing trees and is the first of the Prices to fully interact with the villagers in Africa when she teaches them the game Mother May I? Ruth, however, suffers the most tragic fate of the family when she is killed by a green mamba snake in the village of Kilanga.
Mobutu is the Congo s dictator after Lumumbu dies. He takes power after Lumumba and ultimately casts the Congo into dire poverty as a result of his tyrannical policies.
If you’re curious about the political upheaval that affects the book’s central characters, turn to the text that inspired Kingsolver in the first place. Journalist Jonathan Kwitny’s 6989 book Endless Enemies is a cry of outrage over what he believes is the American government’s pattern of backing tyrants in the Third World. In addition to covering the death of Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba, Kwitny’s book focuses on America’s involvement in Grenada, Iran, Ethiopia, Chile, and many more.
The novel alternates among the voices of the five female characters. Characterize the personality of each and give examples of their narration to support your opinion. Give a minimum of five pieces of evidence for each character.
“Barbara Kingsolver has dreamed a magnificent fiction and a ferocious bill of indictment. … What we have here—with this new, mature, angry, heartbroken, expansive out-of-Africa Kingsolver—is at last our very own Lessing and our very own Gordimer.”
— THE NATION
Ruth May's too to analyze her surroundings and the things she's going through. She can simply tell us about them, with the honesty only a five-year-old (and Rachel) has, and then leaves it to us to figure it out. And one thing we figure out is that Ruth May, like all the other daughters, has a major case of daddy issues. Ruth May feels guilty constantly , which we see when she worries endlessly about skeevy Eeben Axelroot's smuggled diamonds. He tells her that if she tells anyone, God will make her parents get sick and die—and we have to wonder if Ruth May would have swallowed this lie so wholeheartedly if her own father hadn't already instilled in her a needless fear of the good Lord.
After the hunt, Nelson finds an evil sign outside of his home, which happens to be the Price's chicken coop, and begs to spend the night in their house. Nathan refuses his request, but the girls take pity on his whimpering and join him outside. Taking a cue from one of their father's sermons, they spread the ground with ash, hoping to catch the footprints of the person planting poisonous snakes in the homes of those connected to the Prices. The next morning, when they sneak out to the chicken coop, they see the six-toed footprints of Tata Kuvundu, as well as a green mamba snake lying in the corner. Nelson pokes the snake with a pole, and it slithers out the door and past them. However, on its way out, it bites Ruth May on the shoulder, and she dies before their eyes.