Words of Wisdom:

"And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand." - Majora

The Poisonwood Bible

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 04:13 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72.7 
  • Words: 1468
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Guilt is one of the main themes in the novel, The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. It is the main cause of the Prices’ unsuccessful trip to Congo. The story defines each character’s guilt and how they try to earn forgiveness. Since “One has only a life of one’s own” (5) to blame, the characters will have to deal and solve their own burden of guilt. Nathan has to overcome his coward ness in WWII, while Orleanna has to live with the burden of a dead child. However, each character represents a different approach in handling their guilt.. The characters are defined by the way they survive through the guilt and how they contract with others around them. Some of them like Orleanna Price are forgiven by the end of the novel, and others, such as Nathan Price are not as fortunate.

Orleanna Price is the only character in the novel that had to carry the burden of guilt through her life. She was a caring and loving mother of 4 children. Her children had different personalities, but they were all loved the same. Ever since the beginning she knew something horrible was about to happen. “She [knew it was] coming. She could loose everything: herself, or worse, her children. Worst of all you, her only secret. Her favourite.” (6) She foreshadows that something horrible is forthcoming to her most loved child in Congo. Her only reason to go was not to disobey her husband’s decision. She cares so much about her family that she would give up her life for any of her child. Although she loves her children equally, there is the one “favourite” child that she would be devastated loosing. Ultimately we find out that Ruth May is her favourite child. She gets bitten by a green mamba and is killed instantly. This is the main guilt Orleanna has to live with throughout the novel.

Orleanna starts off as a mother who would listen to everything her husband says. Even if she knows he is not doing the best for their family, she still agrees with his decision. However, as danger...


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