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 Poisonwood Bible: Very interesting book! 
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Nathan had no business going to Africa. No wonder he didn't have the support of his church. He was unhinged from the beginning. It took the death of her child for the mother to escape, and I found that very sad. The book became very drawn out, and I was eager to get to the end. I knew one of her children didn't make it because of something that was said in an earlier chapter, and I kept trying to figure out which one it was going to be. I sorta of got lost in all the politics, and African names and villages, but it was fascinating. I couldn't put it down. No one in the family escaped from the Congo unscathed, but they all would probably have been just as dysfunctional had the story taken place in Georgia. Nathan had some huge issues!

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Suzanne Averett


Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:54 pm
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As I read, I was just wondering if the author is a Christian or a Southern Baptist? I'm not asking because I was offended or anything but I got the impression that the author was putting down or degrading Southern Baptist Ministers. It's like she was exemplifying all of the stereotypes of a Southern Baptist "Hell, Fire and Brimstone" Pastor and molded it into one character. Did anyone else get that impression or was I just confused? I don't know anything about the author so I may be completely off course with this notion! :shock:

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Deeana Searcy Ray


Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:52 am
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I was a little bogged down with the book as well. Ishmael was such an easy read. At first I liked how the author broke the chapters up by the character speaking but after a while i was just confused.

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Melia Waters


Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:47 am
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Deeana,
I wondered if the author had known someone who gave her a negative impression of religion. It is sad, but there are people like Nathan that exist; however, there are many more who are loving and kind and have true intentions of being helpful; and have done great things to help in other countries as well as our own. I agree that the story was sad, and the author may have just written it to make us think and not intended to be negative about religion at all. Even though I know of missionaries who have done great things, and I don't ask myself the same questions about God that the family did; I can appreciate it for good literature and I enjoyed reading it very much.

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Stella


Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:54 am
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I was just wondering...Why do we never hear from the father? We are able to hear each woman in novels deepest thoughts. However, we only hear what Nathan says to them and their reaction to him. Why do you think the author chose to not give him "a voice"?

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Melia Waters


Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:36 am
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Melia
Maybe because he is quoted so much by others, the author felt she didn't need to give him his own page. He always appeared to be so closed minded, we probably wouldn't want to read anything by him anyway. :o

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Stella


Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:12 pm
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I felt the same way about the Ishmael book. Good at first then confusing later.

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Suzanne McMahon


Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:04 pm
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I don't think I care for Nathan very much. But I guess that is the point of this book (I'm scared to call anything a novel anymore lol). Like Deeana was saying, is he a Christian or something else? I don't know enough about the Southern Baptist religion, and how it differs from mine to say it is right or wrong. But Nathan keeps saying he is Baptist but isn't acting very Christian in my mind. I mean hitting his girls and demeaning his wife. Having them write The Verse for everything little thing. It seemes like the girls see the true him in a way. There is one point in the book where Rachel wishes a tree would fall on her father. I would hate to go through life wishing someone would just die! I don't care for Nathan's "chistian" attitude toward everything at all. I'm hoping we'll go over this in class. :?

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Marie :)


Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:08 am
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Hey Marie:

:wink: The Posionwood Bible is fiction, therefore, a novel.

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Gayle Turner


Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:16 pm
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You know, after class tonight and the questions we ask about the different voices used in Poisonwood I returned home and tried to recall the context in which I first read novel. I encounted Poisonwood as an undergraduate in a Postmodern Humanities class at UNC-A. In that class we discussed post-colonialism and Postmodern society (era after WWII). I had forgotten about the strong emergence of the concept of "individual identity" within Postmodern culture. Springing from such scenes as Nazi Germany and other totalitarian regimes (this is generalizing), the voice of the individual in society- as opposed to a collective identity- takes great precedence in what is known as the Postmodern era. Poisonwood is an excellent illustration of this concept. Within the novel we have the narratives of each of the daughters, as well as the mother, telling the same exact story, however with different points of view, opinion and personality. Each story is the same but is very different. Each story is valued for both what it both brings and omits from the story. There was much talk and debate about Nathan Price and his obvious “absenceâ€

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Jennifer Davis


Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:05 pm
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Hey- While on the subject of Nathan and his peculiar absence- I might add that in my favorite novel (The Sound and the Fury) which was mentioned earlier in the class here on the discussion board- Caddy Compson- the tragic heroine of the story- is also painfully absent from the story. Like Kingsolver, William Faulkner too employs the use of multiple narratives to tell her story. While I am thinking on it, perhaps it too is for similar reasons. Caddy is viciously condemned by her brother Jason in his narrative for her promiscuousness, however she emerges as the life and breath of the family in the narrations of her other brothers Benjy and Quentin. While the entire story tells of the ‘tragic’ downfall of this once ‘noble’ Southern family, there is particular bit of the burden that is suggestively placed on Caddy’s immoral conception and birth of a child out of wedlock. The theme of decay and destruction runs paramount throughout many different facets of the story, however as anyone who has read the novel will tell you, there is a definite obsession with Caddy and the “sinsâ€

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Jennifer Davis


Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:20 pm
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Hi Jen,

Crazy me! I'm still up (all those donuts, maybe?) The connection between the-one-without-the-voice (Nathan) and Caddy is wonderful, and one I never made. You are sending me back to Sound and Fury for a re-read!

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Gayle Turner


Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:29 pm
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Hey- Anytime you want to talk Faulkner just let me know! I don't get to do it much with 5 year olds! :?

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Jennifer Davis


Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:22 am
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it is interesting the kind of characters kingsolver chooses to illuminate here. Interestingly enough, my sister Rachel is sooooo much like Rachel in the novel. Now she is a jet set Charlotte gal but also interesting to me is that she married a guy who acted in many ways like Nathan (he was an alcoholic in the end, and after 12 years she got a divorce). Her regret was that she stayed in it too long to the point where she, like Orleanna, was merely existing.
I wondered what the novel would have been like if she chose a different kind of personality. I loved the ones she did choose, but it's always fun to imagine a different setting or character (how would this story be if it took place in Georgia...not near as interesting) but anyway you get my point. I thought about there being a wild boy in the family like my brother Dan. How different the novel would be and how would Nathan take to having a boy in the family. What if the boy were crippled? What would Nathan say about that? A wild and crippled rebelious boy? Just playing around with this idea.

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Suzanne McMahon


Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:17 am
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As I read the book, I always felt Nathan was simply feeling guilty over what happened to his platoon. Therefore, he made a conscious decision to never let down God again. I think that Nathan saw this mission to the Congo as his chance of redeeming himself in the eyes of God. Amy had mentioned in class the family who had gone on a mission to establish a school. This was so far removed from Prices's original intentions. It sounded like this man already had love in his heart. As a result, the premise was even more successful. Nathan's trip was one of selfishness; this trip was exclusively for him and not for the well being of others. His ignorance of the culture his shown time and time again.

As I finished the book, the closest literature parallel I could recollect is "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Price in comparison to Jonathon Edwards, "enlightens" the congregation on how their lives will not be spared because at any time a wrathful God can remove his hand and these sinners will be doomed to eternal suffering. Somone had mentioned in class how Price refers primarily to the Old Testament and never preaches the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Personally, I feel reference to this section would have been more appropriate. However, Price was looking for an immediate transformation. Maybe he felt intimidation would be more motivating for this "savages."

What is even more ironic is his own family struggles internally with the importance of religion. Rachel mentions how distraught her father would be if he could see what she became-not an obedient housewife, but an independent self-centered individual. Now where did that personality trait come from? The entire family gives a "voice" to Nathan until his horrific death by fire at the end. If only he had forgiven himself, perhaps the outcome and the demise of the family would not have occurred.

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Nicole Atkins


Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:04 am
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