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Biblical Importance in the "Poisonwood Bible"

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Beth Anne Parra

on 18 October 2013

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Transcript of Biblical Importance in the "Poisonwood Bible"

Biblical Importance in the "Poisonwood Bible"
Biblical Reference in Character Names
Rachel Rebecca
second wife of Jacob and younger daughter of Laban
questioned God's jealousy, intent of exile, of idols.
Rebecca- Mother of Esau and Jacob, sister of Laban
first wife of Jacob and eldest daughter of Laban
wife of Lamech (descendant of Cain)
sons Jabal (shepard) and Jubal (musician)
wife of Esau (brother of Jacob, nephew of Laban)
sister-in-law to Rachel and Leah
Ruth May
Ruth, ancestor of Jesus, converted to judaism in old testament
husbands Mahon ("sickness") and Boaz ("swiftness")
May, derived from Mary, Margaret...
Apostle Nathanael (or Bartholomew)
martyred on mission
Biblical Importance of the Title "Poisonwood Bible"
references Adah's reflection of Bibles that were known for their errors
"he was in the other room a-reading in
battle of the Bible verses
Camel's Bible: "and Rebekah arose with her camels"
Lions Bible: sons coming forth from lions instead of loins
Murderers' Bible: the complainers did not murmur, but murdered
Standing Fishes: "the fish stood on the shore all the way from Engedi to Eneglaim"
Sin-On Bible: John 5:14 "sin on more!" instead of "sin no more"
Treacle Bible, Bear Bible, Bug Bible, Vinegar Bible
Error of the Poisonwood Bible
that Bible written by her father, the religion he practiced
"Tata Jesus is Bangala"
Nathan had said it in a way that meant Jesus is poisonwood due to mispronunciation
when said correctly, "bangala" can mean "dearly beloved", however, Nathan says it harshly, making it mean "poisonwood tree"
"So this will be the end."
causes swelling at the touch
can kill if the fumes of the burned wood are inhaled
comparing God to something that kills
"My father woke up the next morning with a horrible rash..., presumably wounded by the plant that bites. Even his good right eye was swollen shut"
The Poisonwood Tree
Biblical Allusion to the Garden of Eden
Demonstration Garden vs. Garden of Eden
Paradise and salvation
The "cursed" tree
Orleanna vs. Eve
Significance of the snake
Original sin
"Perhaps we've always eaten the wrong foods in the Garden, because our family always seems to know too much, and at the same time not enough." - Leah, pg. 103
"In the beginning we were just about in the same boat as Adam and Eve. We had to learn the names of everything." -Leah pg. 101
Biblical Parallels and Allusion in the Book Names
understanding, chaos, and death
Bel and the Serpent:
Song of the Three Children:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Biblical Allusion to Bethlehem, Georgia
Adah: no belief in Nathan's God --> Scientology, all things are created equally
Leah: full belief in Nathan's God--> leaves Nathan's vengeful God, knows that not everything is asign from "God" as a direct result of her actions (Brother Fowles), the "unmissionary"
Rachel: has no interest in religion--> chooses not to believe in God, worships herself (Monotheistic)
Ruth May: restricted knowledge of Christianity --> muntu

Bethleham, GA
Characters' Quotes: Final Views on Religion
Adah: "Death is the common right of Toads and Men. Why swagger then?"- Emily Dickinson (p. 527)
Rachel: "Perhaps I sound un-Christian, but lets face it, when I step outside my own little world at night and listen to the sounds... What I feel in my bones is that this is not a Christian kind of place... If you ask me, that's how it is and ever shall be. You stick out your elbows and hold yourself up."
Leah: "Some kin to the passion of Brother Fowles, I guess, who advises me to trust in Creation, which is made fresh daily and doesn't suffer in translation."
Hooke, S. H. (1982). The Bible in basic English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kingsolver, B. (1998). The Poisonwood Bible: a novel. New York: HarperFlamingo.
Plasecki, S. (2012, July 19). Thursday's Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible - Thoughtful Spot. Thoughtful Spot. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://thoughtfulspot.typepad.com/blog/2012/07/thursdays-book-review-the-poisonwood-bible.html

How are biblical allusions (such as names and parables) used to support a particular theme or themes?
In "The Poisonwood Bible", biblical allusions are used to convey character development in the evolution of their beliefs and the book titles, Western arrogance in the title and Nathan's beliefs, and family influence and roles through character names. We analyzed the importance and utilization of of religion in their move from Bethlehem to the Congo, the book titles, character names, allusion to the Garden of Eden, and the novel's title.
Kingsolver effectively utilized religion to convey many themes throughout the novel, including culture shock, Western arrogance, societal roles, and many more. We analyzed the Price's move away from Bethlehem, book titles, character names, the novel's title, and allusion to the Garden of Eden.
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