The Poisonwood Bible Questions and Answers
by Barbara Kingsolver

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How would you characterize the philosophies of life at which Adah, Leah, and Rachel arrive in The Poisonwood Bible?

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Barbara Kingsolver weaves the theme of each girls' different approaches to life all throughout the novel.  She leaves a trail of symbolic references.  Take for example Rachel's reaction to the ant infestation; she says she

"stuck my elbows very hard into the ribs of the people who were crushing in around me, and kind of wedged myself in...instead of getting trampled I simply floated like a stick in a river, carried along by everyone else's power."

This is indicative of her entire approach to life--don't ruffle feathers, let everyone else do the work, and take the easiest, most convenient route to comfort and prosperity.  Later, she describes herself as "the Fourth of July," to reflect her rather sparkly, noisy personality.  Earlier, in listing all of the...

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