Symbolism In The Poisonwood Bible Essay

When the Price family is placed in a life or death situation, the daughters are forced to choose and bring their most valuable object with them. The Poisonwood Bible, written by Barbara Kingsolver, takes place in a small village named Kilanga during 1959. The family is in the Congo for a missionary mission to help the Congolese people and make the Congo a better place. When an ant invasion terrorizes the small village, the Price girls must make a quick decision on what to bring with them while the ants destroy the remaining things. Rachel, the oldest daughter, chooses her hand held mirror but Adah, brings her own voice with her. While Leah, chooses her love for the Congo and Congolese people. The physical or mental objects that the daughters…

The mirror symbolizes the respect that she has for the Congolese people because when the mirror “fell like knives into the mud” (302), her manner and respect for the Congo disappears. Moreover, when Rachel is trying to escape from the ants, she fools herself into believing that Mama Mwanza is selfish for not inviting her onto their boat. Rachel even states, “She did deserve help, poor thing, but I personally have a delicate constitution” (302). However, Mama Mwanza is missing limbs and is a mother to a lot of kids that are filling up the space in the boat. Also, Mama Mwanza has to be carried on her husbands back because she is unable to run or walk. When Rachel’s mirror breaks, she loses all of her respect to the Congo as well because from that point on, she is nothing but rude and disrespectful to the people of the Congo. “I can’t see how those boys are any kin to me” (464), Rachel states, which consequently showcases her attitude toward every Congolese person because she is unable to acknowledge any of her nieces or nephews. Since Leah, her sister, is married to Anatole, Rachel is unable to see past the fact that her nieces and nephews are half white and half black. In other words, Rachel’s hand held mirror is a symbol of her respect to the Congolese people, even when it shatters into a million…

When the Price family starts to flee from Kilanga, most of the members in the family only worries about their own belongings except for Leah. Instead, she worries about Mama Mwanza and the first thing that she thinks of is, “I’d thought to worry about Mama Mwanza but not my own crippled twin” (300). The fact that Leah worried about Mama Mwanza surviving the invasion more than Adah, her sister, shows a lot of compassion, love, and respect for the Congolese people. Later on in the novel, Leah says, “When I can remember to be a good Congolese wife, I tie it up in a headcloth” (430), where she is referring about being a good wife to Anatole. Since Leah, chooses to value the Congo over anything else during the ant invasion she is able to understand that the Congolese people are the same as her, while being able to maintain a loving relationship with a Congolese man.. Her relationship with Anatole can only last if she carries the compassion, love and respect for the Congo like she did during the invasion, and Leah proves that she does over and over again. All in all, even though Leah did not bring anything physical, she does however, bring the love of the Congo and the Congolese people with her and into her future with…