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 Poisonwood Bible Revisited 
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[/i] Through exploring the novel further, I believe all of the Prices and Anatole were teachers in some way. Each of these characters taught a lesson about life, interacting with others, and redemption.

For instance, Leah and Anatole taught readers that making a small difference everyday was worth the sacrifices they made in their living conditions and meager pay. I believe Orleanna was a great example of flight and wrestling with forgiveness: both trying to give it and receive it). Ruth May taught us that although life is short, it is how you make the most of each day that counts. Nathan was a stoic example of inflexibility, not listening to those around us, and refusing to change the way he did things even when he was not reaching those he was teaching. Rachel was a perfect example of a learner who wandered aimlessly for a while after she lost her bearings and belief in herself. Adah used her negative experiences to fulfill impressive educational and career goals, teaching readers how to use obstacles as stepping stones.

What do you all think?

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Misti Holloway


Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:14 pm
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Misti, I agree with you about Ruth May. She wasn't old enough to have formed "judgements" when it came to others. In a way she had the quickest flight toward a truly beautiful experience in reference to life and love.
The one who bothers me the most is Orleanna. I agree that she is wrestling with many things but I was bothered by her lack of backbone when it came to standing up for what she believed in. She did, at times, stand up to her husband but there were so many times that she could have, and should have in my opinion, stepped in. I suppose that is part of the reason we are reading this one. We have to realize that OUR vision of what is right is not always the same vision as others depending on their culture, beliefs and background. As a mother, trust me you wouldn't want to step in front of me and one of my children even though they are 18 - 24 years old! :) My first instinct is to protect them. I know that her, Orleanna's, time period is one when women were typically more submissive to their husbands but it was still hard for me to take when she sat by and allowed her husband to rule with an iron fist. It was sad to me that, on pg. 68, Leah writes about how she remembered "Once in a great while we just have to protect her" referencing their mother from their father. How sad it would be as a child to not only be ruled over so sternly but to watch my own mother suffer emotionally. Was anyone else bothered by the mother's role?


Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:45 pm
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I wasn't particularly bothered by Orleanna's character, however, I felt sorry for her and had sympathy. But at the end of the book, I was proud of her for leaving Nathan and getting out of the Congo.

One interesting point I noticed when I finished the book was the character development that took place. I felt like I had watched all of the daughters grow up from childhood, through adolescence, to adulthood. Made me stop and think how education is a continuing process that can never be really obtained, only built upon.

This makes me ask myself, how as a teacher currently, and hopefully as an administrator one day, am I leading students to develop their education to the next step and prepare them for the next level? Seems like all of the girls in the book had to do this on their own due to Nathan's stubbornness, their culture and circumstances, and sometimes lack of a mother. I don't want to be one more obstacle a student has to overcome to receive an education.

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Meghan Wood


Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:22 pm
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Meaghan- I also enjoyed reading how the characters changed and grew. What I found most interesting was that Rachel wanted to go home the whole time they were in the Congo but then when she got the chance to actually leave she stayed. Given she had the Equatorial and money but finally when you was older, she mentioned that she had regrets. I feel this is like teachers/administrators. At the end of every school year, we did what we could to educate the students and make them enjoy their learning experience but we always wonder if we did enough and should we have done something different. I also have been thinking about Orleana. She should be an example of what we should not do as educators-follow everyone elses rules. We need to be more like Leah, break away from the unknown and do what we feel is best. I find myself thinking about this book more and more throughout my day. I was outside with my son yesterday playing ball and I found myself wondering if anyone else in the world right now, maybe in Africa, was going to the river to get water or were shooting animals with a bow and arrow. This book has really made me appreciate life and all the wonderful blessings my family has.

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:10 am
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You all have brought up many good points. Rachel does mention having regrets. I know as a teacher, I have had regrets (mostly wishing I had more time and energy to devote to helping students) , and I know I will also have regrets as an administrator--I will see so many students I want to help and things I want to do, but change has to be made a little at a time.

Also, by the end of the novel I actually felt conflicted about Orleanna. I am frustrated with her for not standing up to her husband and attempting to leave him earlier, but I also feel so much pity for her too. She has so many regrets and constantly seeks forgiveness. Because she waited to take the drastic action of leaving her husband, she buried her baby in the Congo. She could never have known her decision to stay longer would have the reprecussions it did, and she continuously regrets her choice. She never quite forgives herself, and for that, my heart hurts for her.

Also, like Nicole, this book has made me more appreciative of how "easy" my life is. When the pantry is getting low on supplies, I make a quick trip to Food Lion, and major tasks for the week consists of work, grad school, groceries, laundry, mowing the yard, and cleaning--very simple when you consider the hard life citizens of the Congo face. This novel has taught me not to complain about my busy week...Leah would eat me alive if she heard me :-).

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Misti Holloway


Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:20 am
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I think they were all teachers, but I would say that Nathan is the principal. And we have to make sure that we don't lead our schools into a jungle with wild animals, snakes (lions, tigers and bears, oh my!!!). We have to listen to our teachers and remember that they are experts in areas that we may know little about. We should not force our beliefs and practices on them. Most importantly, we can't baptize every child and "save" every child, but if we can make the difference in one life, we have done something wonderful.

Secondly, as an administrator, we can't sacrifice our famillies and loved ones, because we are so focused on our schools.

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LaRhonda Williams


Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:26 pm
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Good point about not sacrificing our families LaRhonda! In my first year of teaching, my principal told me the best piece of advice she could offer to me was to never forget that I had a family. She said good teachers will always feel like they could do more, but they never sacrifice the loved ones at home to do so.

I try to remember that. There will always be grading, lesson planning, and contacting parents to do, but you only get one life...

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Misti Holloway


Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:30 pm
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