Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Kingsolver demonstrates her twin themes of family and cultural endurance as well as pride and preservation of nature by structuring the plot around these thematic concerns. She characterizes people going about their everyday lives with great dignity—working, eating, playing, or even smoking a pipe. When the father is laid off from his mining job, instead of bemoaning his situation, he uses the downtime as an opportunity to take the family on a trip to view their great-grandmother’s homeland. However, the trip is not simply for pleasure but to convey the lesson that families should know their roots. A meal together should not produce complaints about missing meat but should provide an opportunity to educate children in family and tribal history and knowledge. The games of cowboys and Indians played by Gloria’s brothers are a sign that some family members are out of tune with their heritage. A young girl playing with morning glories presents an opportunity to learn a lifetime lesson on the interconnectedness of all living things. An old lady smoking a pipe on the porch demonstrates the sacred bond between god and humans.


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Beattie, Elisabeth L. “Story-Telling Traditions.” Keeneland Magazine, Winter, 2003, 41-44.

Blake, Fanny, and Margaret Forster. “YOU Reading Group: The Poisonwood Bible.” YOU 9 (January, 2000): 77-79.

Cockrell, Amanda. “Luna Moths, Coyotes, Sugar Skulls: The Fiction of Barbara Kingsolver.” The Hollins Critic 38, no. 2 (2001): 1-15.

Eisele, Kimi. “The Where and Why of Literature: A Conversation with Barbara Kingsolver.” You Are Here 2, no. 2 (1999): 10-15.

Flairty, Steve. “Barbara Kingsolver—Kentucky’s ’Polite Firebrand’ Author.” Kentucky Monthly, February, 2002, 12-15.