The Poisonwood Bible Questions and Answers
by Barbara Kingsolver

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What kinds of captivity and freedom does Kingsolver explore in The Poisonwood Bible?

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Two of the many kinds of captivity Kingsolver explores in The Poisonwood Bible, a novel of impressive sweep, are the captivity of one's preconceived ideas and the captivity of poverty.

Nathan Price arrives in Kilanga in the Congo as a Baptist preacher and becomes the captive of his inability to change his ideas or bend to the realities of his new home. He is a captive of survivor's guilt from living through the Battaan Death March in World War II, and this makes him rigid. He wants to impress the "natives" with the superiority of his own culture in order to convert them, but he only bemuses them, such as when he dynamites the river to impress them with the number of fish he can kill. His lack of ability to communicate in the native language symbolizes his inability to communicate in general. His captivity to his own ideas makes him an ineffectual minister and father. Rachel, who is most like her father, also becomes a captive of American ideology, including keeping up a happy face, and a...

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