Describe the fictional society of "The Poisonwood Bible" that was created by the author.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Barbara Kingsolver set her novel in the 1960's in the Congo of Africa in a small village named Kilanga.  The village itself with all of its inhabitants were fictional; however, Kingsolver did a lot of research into the political and social realities of the time period,  so it seems very authentic.  The Price women are the narrators, describing a poor village composed of children in hand-me-down clothing and villagers that use broken-down equipment in creative and unique ways to run their lives.  They are a highly superstitious people led by a "spirit man" chief who is suspicious of Nathan Price and his "God".  They are a simple people whose lives are centered around sustenance; the women work hard to find food for their families, and many of the young men get swept up in the political turmoil of the time. Various different factions across the world fight for the diamond mines and other wealth that comes from the hard labor of people on the rich land.

Into all of this the Price family is plunged, highly unprepared, and are forced to reckon with a world that is foreign and incomprehensible in every way.  Their story is touching, humorous, and cataclysmic, impacting each character in permanent ways.

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The Poisonwood Bible

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