Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Literature Analysis: The Poisonwood Bible

General

  1. The Poisonwood Bible is a novel about an American family that travels deep into the Congo based on a blinded belief that they would maintain their sanity.  The Price family consists of three very different daughters, a concerned mother and a misguided father.  By the end of the novel each family member, besides the father, comes to a distinct conclusion of just how powerful the Congo was in changing their lives.
  2. The theme of The Poisonwood Bible develops from the idea that one cannot change something unless they change themselves first.  This theme is immediately noticed when the family first steps foot into the Congo.  Each family member believes that they can change the Congo when in actuality the Congo changes them.
  3. "Orleanna Price, Southern Baptist by marriage, mother of children living and dead."  The author's tone is almost that of distress towards each character.  This quote is a perfect example of how the author is filled with near sadness for each character.  "When Noah woke up he got to hear the whole story from the tattletale brothers.  So Noah cursed all Ham's children to be slaves for ever and ever.  That's how come them to turn out dark."  Here the author again is describing a story through the eyes of the youngest daughter, Ruth Price.  Yet rather than that of a positive story Ruth talks of a dark tale of slaves.  "I could just feel the grit in my hair, which is so extremely fair it is prone to get stained.  Boy, what a place...For the flush commodes and the machine-washed clothes and other simple things in life I have took for granite."  Once again the author mentions the hardships that the characters had to endure.  In this case Rachel describes her physical features immediately affected by the new environment.
  4.  Imagery-  "Just wet clumps stuffed in my mouth that I would have to chew into glue."  The family decides that in order to be respect they must eat the food that was laid out before them.  Rachel describes the experience in graphic detail.
  • Diction-  "Silence had many advantages."  Adah was diagnosed with hemiplegia, yet instead of constant complaint she believed this.
  • Direct Characterization- "He's handsome, sandy-haired type that people presume to be Scottish and energetic, though possibly fiery-tempered."  Here Leah describes her father in great detail.
  • Indirect Characterization- "Color coordination is not a strong point.  Grown men and women seem to think a red plaid and a pink floral print are complementary colors."  This quote from Rachel adds to the idea that she is only concerned with material things, similiar to that of most modern teens.
  • Repetition-  "Anything that ever was white is not white here.  That is not a color you see.  Even white flower opening up on a bush just looks doomed for this world."  The word "white" is used in this sentence numerous times because the author wants the reader to understand that color has no meaning in the Congo.
  • Metaphor- "Sending a girl to college is like pouring water in your shoes, it's hard to say which is worse, seeing it run out and waste the water, or seeing it hold in and wreck the shoes."  Reverand Price's idea of school can be easily understood through this quote.
  • Parable- "Feed the belly and the soul will come."  In this quote the Reverand wants the reader to understand that nutrition is required for spiritual guidance.
  • Flashback/Foreshadowing- "I could have been a different mother, you'll say.  Could have straightened up and seen what was coming, for it was thick in the air all around us."  Orleanna has a flashback here and foreshadows future events to come.
  • Comedic Relief- "Reverand, missionary work is a great bargain for Belgium but it is a hell of a way to deliver the social services."  The Doctor does not believe what the Reverand is doing is right however he expresses it through a light comment rather than through a rage.
Characterization

  1.  Direct Characterization- "He's handsome, sandy-haired type that people presume to be Scottish and energetic, though possibly fiery-tempered."  Here Leah describes her father in great detail.
  • Direct Characterization- "I inspected Anatole's special kind of face scarring instead...Around here the people seem content to settle for whatever scars life whangs them with as a decoration."  Anatole's scars are directly described in this quote.
  • Indirect Characterization- "Color coordination is not a strong point.  Grown men and women seem to think a red plaid and a pink floral print are complementary colors."  This quote from Rachel adds to the idea that she is only concerned with material things, similar to that of most modern teens.
  •  Indirect Characterization- "Maturing into a Christian lady."  When Leah reaches the age of fifteen she is described as "Maturing into a Christian Lady" which in reality means that she is becoming an honest and forthright woman.
  1. "On the day of the hunt I came to know in the slick center of my bones this one thing: all animals kill   to survive, and we are animals."  When the character of Adah takes over as the author, the diction and syntax become simple and elementary yet they often deliver powerful meanings.  In the quote above Adah does not use any complicated diction or a complicated syntax yet she is able to portray the meaning of the sentence with ease.
  2. There is not a single protagonist yet all the main characters are without a doubt dynamic.  They change drastically throughout the entire novel.  The main characters are also flat because they simply do not return to their original selves and therefore cannot be considered round.
  3. After reading the novel I felt that I met each and every character.  The main reason for this was that each character had a distinct personality and I felt that even for a second I could relate to them.  Whether through their positive traits or their cynical beliefs, at one point or another I could somehow relate to each character.

1 comment:

  1. you broke down this story really well! good job!

    ReplyDelete