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 The "Poisonwood" Bible- Ooos and Aaahhs 
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Reflecting back on the overall work by Kingsolver I find it utterly amazing how spectacularly her work is put together. From the seven books (seven being Biblically significant) in Poisonwood- to the crafty application of Biblical book chapter titles- it seems that every little decision flows and complements the overall text. The irony of the crocodiles in the river (the baptismal) and the unbelievable misuse of the word “poisonwoodâ€

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Jennifer Davis


Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:54 am
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Jen
I was impressed with its cohesiveness as well and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I kept thinking that the title Poisonwood Bible was penned because Nathan kept saying Tata Jesus is Bangala (with a scribal o sound) therefore saying he is poisonwood instead of beloved. Since the Bible is predominately about Jesus (poisonwood to Nathan) hence the Poisonwood Bible. You are a good writer Jen. With your literature background, you should try to pen a novel (in your spare time).
:wink:

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Stella


Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:29 am
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I also wondered if the poisonwood was also how the misuse of the bible had poisoned Nathan? What do you all think?


Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:44 am
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Good point Elaine! and how all the family was poisoned in their relationships to one another while in the Congo........It affected their perspectives and relationships with each other perhaps permanently.

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Stella


Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:47 am
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I too had thought of the actual poisoning but I also wonder at the title’s overall symbolism. The title symbolically brings these two very different cultures together in a way that is both tragic yet satisfying. Throughout the entire novel we constantly scold Nathan for his inability to both acknowledge and respect the Congolese culture. This obsession with his own “Tâ€

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Jennifer Davis


Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:15 am
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I agree with all of you. I too enjoyed the book, which is unusual for me (I sadly have to admit, I hate reading)! I wondered about the title before I even began reading and wondered about its' significance. Then after I read first that Nathan was poisoned by the plant, I thought that was it. Nathan was poisoned by other things as well and his depiction of Jesus and the Bible was poisoned. It was not accurate, it was an evil, demented picture that was poisoned (in part by him). I thought, like you all, that it was significant that he kept, accidentally, referring to Jesus as Poisonwood rather than precious. Maybe it was a Freudian slip :)

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Deeana Searcy Ray


Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:02 am
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I agree with Jen. I think the title sums up the entire book. I personal believe that the book is Nathan's mixed up perception on his believes.

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Morgan Lancaster


Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:47 am
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The title is something and it is amazing and admirable how all of these ideas are researched and woven together in such a package...all of the different perspectives...what an excellent combination to entertain us with. It certainly reminded me of my own family.
I thought about Poisonwood's effects. The ooze that comes from your skin when you've been bit by it. To me, that oozing is a lot like Nathan's relationships with his daughters and wife and villagers...just oozing the toxicity and it's enough to cause someone to scream out-get this overwith-which is exactly what the family had to do when they left him. So, lots of symbolism.
I liked Stella's comment about the Tata Jesus of Bangala with a long o. That is something I never paid attention to as I read. And isn't it interesting how Nathan made comments that insulted the people without even realizing it. What a fnny thing for Kingsolver to put him in a setting where one word can mean a variety of things depending on the tone of voice and pitch. That definately spiced up the book there.

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Suzanne McMahon


Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:25 am
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The misuse of the Bible slowly poisoned not only Nathan's mind, but created animousity within the tribe and more importantly, his own family. Price is guilty of twisting the scripture to substantiate his theories (which I know many people do). Price never considered how his actions or reactions would affect his wife and children. He was extremely misguided, and therefore deliberatly placed his family in harm's way. Do you remember the night of the ants? What was Nathan doing? What did he do when May Ruth died? When his wife and children left?

This is definitely the best book I have read in years. The author' style and imagery makes me feel like an active reader and not a passive one. Did anyone notice at the beginning that Kingsolver did not get to actually go to the Congo while researching the book? It was based from other travels to Africa and other novels. How remarkable!! I enjoy book that make me think weeks after the conclusion. Every time you read this book, another issue emerges.

My final question is who are the real victims in the text? It was previously established that Nathan was a tragic hero. What about the rest of the charcters?

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Nicole Atkins


Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:33 am
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