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In The Poisonwood Bible, the most prominent aspects of style employed by Kingsolver are the manipulations in narrative voice. Each chapter in the novel is told by one of five characters: Orleanna Price, Leah, Adah, Rachel, and Ruth May. Kingsolver develops a unique voice for each one by using specific diction, syntax, and changes in grammar. For example, Adah is very perceptive and intelligent, so Kingsolver uses this trait in the development of Adah's voice. Adah says, "To amuse my depraved Ada self during homework time I wrote down that quote from memory on a small triangular piece of paper and passed it to Leah. . . ." Adah's use of language suggests her perceptive nature. Kingsolver does this for the other four narrators as well, and this is a prominent feature in her writing style.
The style of writing in the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver involves the rather unique style of using five different narrators of varying ages each telling the story from their first person point of view. This style brings interest and depth to both the plot and characterizations in the novel which is divided into books. Each book begins with Orleanna Price, the mother peering back while narrating the chapter as she reflects on a particular time in the family’s journey with her point of view. The other four narrators are Oleanea’s daughters Ruth May, Adah, Rachel and the oldest, Leah, who, early in the book range from five years old to seventeen. They mature throughout the book which gives each of them a unique outlook on the events of the journey, living conditions, and emotions in each chapter, which unlike their mother, they tell in real-time.
Early in Book 1 Orleanna gazes back over the years saying, "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."
Leah, the oldest, talks about her future, "when I am a grown-up American lady with a backyard garden of my own. I shall tell all the world the lessons I learned in Africa."
Rachel, speaks with her teenage perspective talking about missing boys saying, "Which I guess just goes to show you how unaccustomed to the male species I have become."
Adah shows her exasperation with the family’s life by saying, "I never much imagined myself as a woman grown, anyway, and nowadays especially it seems a waste of imagination."
Ruth May in her five year old voice speaks to her understanding of life’s problems by seeking divine intervention, "I was bad, sometimes I prayed for Baby Jesus to make me good, but Baby Jesus didn't."
Each character gives the reader a different mindset, during the same time frame in the family’s life.
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