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Transcript of Group #8
When looking back, Orleanna stated:
"What did I have? No money, that's for sure. No influence, no friends I could call upon in that place, no way to overrule the powers that governed our lives. This is not a new story: I was an interior force."
Orleanna was not only being held captive by the political unrest occurring in Africa, but also by her own husband. Nathan felt that Orleanna and the girls were inferior, and he could dictate their lives. The Price girls wanted to leave the Congo when advised to do so, but Nathan was selfish and he wouldn't allow it. Instead, he imposed his Christian beliefs on the Congolese.
Captivity and Freedom
Love and betrayal
By: Jolee Keplinger and Lilly Wasson
At the beginning of the story, Methuselah was portrayed as a symbol of captivity. Later on, Nathan became fed up and released the bird into the wild.
"You're free to go." my father said waiting. But the bird did not come out. So he reached in and took hold of it."
Since Methuselah had lived his life in a cage, he didn't know what to do with his newly found independence. He continued to depend on the Price girls for food, remaining captive even though physically, he was free.
"I should have been devoured in my bed, for all I seem to be worth. In one moment alive, and in the next left behind. Tugged from our beds by something or someone, the ruckus, banging and shouting outside, my sisters leaped up screaming and were gone. I could not make a sound for the ants had my throat. I dragged myself out to moonlight and found a nightmare vision of dark red, boiling ground. Nothing stood still, no man or beast, not even the grass that writhed beneath the shadow, dark and ravenous. Not even the startled grass.
Only my mother stood still. There she was, planted before me in the path, rising on thin legs out of the rootless devouring earth. In her arms, crosswise like a load of kindling, Ruth May. I spoke out loud, the only time: help me."
Physical deformity is another representation of captivity. Since Adah was deformed, it was as if she was trapped in her own body.
Once reaching the Congo, Adah notices that deformity is a fact of life among the village. Due to the general acceptance of her deformity, Adah gained a sense of freedom she never had while living in the United States.
"That night I could still wonder why she did not help me. Live was I ere I saw evil. Now I do not wonder at all. That night marks my life's dark center, the moment when growing up ended and the long downward slope toward death began. The wonder to me now is that I thought myself worth saving. But I did. I did. oho, did I! I reached out and clung for life with my good left hand like a claw, grasping at moving legs to raise myself from the dirt. Desperate to save myself in a river of people saving themselves. And if they chanced to look down and see me struggling underneath them, they saw that even the crooked girl believed her own life was precious. That is what it means to be a beast in the kingdom."
Captivity and freedom, along with love and betrayal, were constant themes throughout the Poisonwood Bible. The two themes were displayed by the actions of numerous characters (such as Methuselah, Nathan, Adah, and Rachel).
"While everybody was running from the house, I cast around in a frenzy trying to think what to save. It was so dark I could hardly see, but I had a very clear presence of mind. I only had time to save one precious thing. Something from home. Not my clothes there wasn't time, and not the bible- it didn't seem worth saving at that moment, so help me God. It had to be my mirror. Mother was screaming at us out the door with every force of her lungs, but I turned around and shoved right past her and went back, knowing what I had to do. I grabbed my mirror. Simply broke the frame Nelson had made for it and I tore it right down from the wall. Then I ran as fast as my legs would carry me."
" I was thrown right into the mud. Before I even realized what had happened, my precious mirror had slipped from my hand and cracked against the side of the boat. I scooped it up quickly from the rivers edge, but as I stood up the pieces slid apart and fell like knives to the mud. I stood watching in shock as the boat sloshed away from the shore. They left me. And my mirror, strewn all around, reflecting moonlight in crazy shapes. Just left me flat, in the middle of all bad luck and broken sky. "