In The Poisonwood Bible, how does the Reverend Price attempt to use religion to acquire personal power?
In The Poisonwood Bible, the reverend Nathan Price attempts to use religion to control the villagers and change their way of life. Nathan is obsessed with his conception of religion, and he harbors guilt from having been the only member of his company to survive the war. Nathan attempts to deal with this guilt by making a promise to himself to save as many souls as he can, but in this effort he fails. Nathan does not attempt to understand the culture of Kilanga, nor does he see the villagers as actual people. The previous missionary in the village Brother Fowles allowed himself to integrate into the community and was therefore more successful in bringing Christianity to the people. Nathan, however, uses religion to chastize the people for what he feels is uncivilized behavior. For example, when the Prices arrive in the village, the villagers greet them by singing hymns. Many of the women are bare-chested, and Nathan, appalled by the sight of nude women, delivers a sermon on the sins of nakedness. The women are ashamed and return to their huts. So, Nathan Price uses religion as a form of punishment on the villagers so that he can appease his own inner guilt.