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Ava Sonleitner The Poisonwood Bible In Barbara Kingsolvers novel The Poisonwood Bible, fierce southern Baptist Reverend

Nathan Price, packs up his family, wife, Orleanna, and four daughters, Leah, Adah, Rachel, and Ruth May, to live for a year in the African village of Kilanga. All of their belongings, both spiritual and material, are encompassed to do the Lords work in the Belgian Congo as Baptist missionaries in the late 1950s. The novel continually reveals the numerous transformations the Price women experience while battling their own faith and conflicts they never imagined would impact their entire lives. Hunger, disease, loss of faith, loss of trust and respect for their father traumatize their abilities to spread Gods word. Adah becomes the daughter that rebels, challenges, and struggles to see her place not only in her family, but in this holy mission. Through her lack of self-esteem and doubt because her twin sister Leah ended up receiving more nutrients in the womb, Adah was left with a physical impairment, a limp, resulting in a feeling of betrayal towards her twin. In addition Adah refuses to talk until she feels there in something in life worth speaking up for. She must find the road back to self acceptance and knowledge that gives her the resilience to accomplish and overcome her fears, insecurities and self doubts to become corporeally able, and find academic enlightenment. After this transformation Adah realizes that she is unhappy with her new self, and yearns for her past, her limp, and her ability to see the world in

a very different light than her peers and elders. Through her turmoil, self doubt and internal struggles she finally transforms into a woman who has found her own beliefs.
The Prices family dynamic causes Adah to not quite see where she belongs. Father, Nathan Price a passionate Southern Baptist Reverend finds himself and his holy mission to be impregnable, driven by the guilt brought on by his cowardice in the army. He is the absolute ruler over the Price womens beliefs, values and livelihood. He has made their mission in life to spread the Gospel and to convert and enlighten the Congolese people in the Lords word. Mother, Orleanna Price, is a woman frozen by her abusive spouse. Adah was born with Hemiplegia, I was born with half my brain dried up like a prune, deprived of blood by an unfortunate fetal mishap (33), which

has caused half of her brain to not function properly. She walks with a limp, chooses not to speak and has been told that her doctors believe that she will not live far into adulthood because of her fetal mishap, I am prone to let the doctors prophecy rest and keep my thoughts to myself. Silence has many advantages (34). Adah can read both backwards and forwards and her brain thinks far more abstractly than many. When I finish reading a book from front to back, I read it back
to front. It is a different book, back to front, and you can learn new things from it. It from things new learn can you front to back book different a is it? You can agree or not, as you like. This is another way to read it, although I am told a normal brain will not grasp it: Ti morf sgniht wen nrael nac uoy dna tnorf ot kcab koob tnereffid a si ti. The normal, I understand, can see words

my way only if they are adequately poetic: Poor Dan is a droop (57). As a result of Adahs disabilities, and her doctors prognosis she lost the drive to move forward in life. Adah feels extreme resentment towards her twin, Leah, and I are identical in theory, just as in theory we are all made in Gods image. Leah and Adah began our life as images mirror perfect. We have the same eyes dark and chestnut hair. But I am a lame gallimaufry and she remains perfect (33). Leah always tries to be the best in everyones eyes especially her fathers. Adah always tends to be pushed out of the way by Leahs hunger for approval, even in the womb. Oh I can easily imagine the fetal mishap: we were inside the womb together dum-de-dum when Leah suddenly turned and declared, Adah you are just too slow. I am taking all the nourishment here and going on ahead. She grew strong as I grew weak. (Yes! Jesus loves me!) And so it came to pass, in the Eden of our mothers womb, I was cannibalized by my sister (34). Even though Leah did not intentionally cause Adahs disability. Adah feels that she was betrayed by her sister in the womb

Adah, unlike her sister as we know, does not care what her father thinks or anyone else for that matter and has chosen at a young age to be cynical not only to others but to herself. Early on she chose not to believe in God after a negative event in Sunday School, Miss Betty sent me to the corner for the rest of
and believes that she was cannibalized by her own sister. the hour to pray for my own soul while kneeling on grains of uncooked rice. When I finally got up with sharp grains imbedded in my knees I found, to my surprise, that I no longer believed in God (171), which

alone set her apart from family and society. This causes Adah to feel that she is always left behind, Last of all came Adah
the monster, Quasimodo, dragging her right side behind her left in her bodys permanent stepsong sing: left. Behind, left behind. This is our permanent order: Leah, Ruth May, Rachel, Adah (62). Adah feels this way till she really realizes that she wants to be alive and has something to live for. Herself. As the family spends more time in the African Village, she grows more distant from her family, especially her sister Leah. However, she also begins to become more in touch with her self. Adah is surprised that she is looked at as the more normal one in the village because of her sisters tomboy persona. She is beginning to be looked upon in our village as bizarre. At the least, direly unfeminine. If anything, I am now considered the more normal one. I am the bnduka, the single word that describes me precisely: someone who is bent sideways and walks slowly. But for my twin who now teaches school and murders tree trunks I have heard various words applied by our neighbors, none with much fondness. The favored word, bkala, covers quite a lot of ground, including a hot pepper, a bumpy sort of potato, and the male sex organ (278). Adah, looks at her whole family and is disturbed by the abundance of wrong doings and disrespect they are inflicting on the Congolese People. No one in Adahs family, especially her father, who is attempting to convert the natives to Christianity, or her sister Rachel who trys to forget that she isnt in America, has taken notice of or embraced any of the African culture. They are blinded by the belief that they can make their own American Dream in the middle of the Belgian Congo. Adah on the other hand tries to learn the native language Kilanga and enrich her mind with the foreign culture.

One night as Adah was sleeping she was violently awoken by a painful burning feeling. Thousands of Ants taken over the whole village, leaving Adah begging for help from her mother. In her arms, crosswise like a load of kindling, Ruth May. I spoke out loud, the only time: help me (305). Adahs mother was unable to help her though, and chose Ruth May instead. I spoke again: Please. She studied me for a moment, weighing my life. Then nodded, shifted the load in her arms, turned away. Come on! she commanded over her shoulder. I tried to stay close behind her, but even under the weight of Ruth May she was sinuous and quick in the crowd. My heels were nipped from behind by other feet. Stepped on, though I felt vaguely, already numb from the burning ants. I knew when I went down. Someones bare foot was on my calf and then my back, and I was being trampled. A crush of feet on my chest. I rolled over again and again, covering my head with my arms. I found my way to my elbows and raised myself up, grabbing with my strong left hand at legs that dragged me forward. Ants on my earlobes, my tongue, my eyelids. I heard myself cry out loudsuch a strange noise, as if it came from my hair and fingernails, and again and again I came up. Once I looked form my mother and saw her, far ahead. I followed, bent on my own rhythm. Curved into the permanent song of my body: left behind (306). Adah being left behind has now become a common motif in the novel. At this moment though Adah realizes that she wants to live, that she has found a will to live. 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 (306). The Congo had made Adah find herself. I was a failed combination of too-weak body and overstrong will. But in Congo I am those things perfectly united: Adah (343). Adah was still left wondering though, why her mother did not choose to help her that night of the ant attack. This event transforms Adah, clarifying that she can find more solace and independence in the Congo than anywhere else in her life. After the tragic death of Ruth May however, the relationship with her mother changed tremendously. Adah was the first of the children to be chosen to get out of Africa and back to America with her mother. To Adahs surprise, Leah was left in Africa. Once back in America, Adah, for the first time in her life, decided to take control. She made the decision to get herself into college and to not be held back any longer by her physical impairments, her family and society. She set up an interview at Emory University I opened my mouth and waited for the sentence I hoped would arrive. I need to go to your college here, sir. And when I am done with it, I will need to go to your medical school (408). After showing the college interviewer her superior intellect and true potential, Adah was admitted immediately. I had told the truth: I needed to go to his college. I needed to get out of Bethlehem, out of my skin, my skull, and the ghost of my family. It is not because I was ashamed of Motherhow could I, the village idiot, be ashamed of her? I somewhat enjoyed the company of her madness, and certainly I understood it. But Mother wanted to consume me like food. I needed my own room. I needed books, and for the first time in my life I needed schoolmasters who would tell me each day what to think about (409). Adahs academic enlightenment was a crucial part of her transformation because while studying at Emory University she was able to find a religion that she can truly believe in, In organic chemistry, invertebrate zoology, and the inspired symmetry of Mendelian genetics, I have found a religion that serves. I recite the Periodic Table of Elements like a prayer; I take my examinations as Holy Communion, and the pass of the first semester was a sacrament (409). The religion of Science. During Medical School Adah befriends an upstart neurologist who believes I am acting out a great lifelong falsehood. Adahs false hood. In his opinion, an injury to the brain occurring

as early as mine should have no lasting effects on physical mobility. He insists there should have been complete compensation in the undamaged part of my cerebral cortex, and that my dragging right side is merely holding on to a habit of learned infancy (page 439). Under the doctors guidance Adah is retrained to lose her limp. The thought crosses Adahs mind though, Will I lose myself entirely if I lose my limp? (441). Adah has came to the realization that regardless of her physical impairments, she would have been able to achieve all of her goals because of the confidence, strength, and will to live that she discovered through her triumphs and tribulations in the Congo. Adah eventually loses her limp entirely and is left with the realization that she is unhappy without her limp. Tall and straight I may appear, but I will always be Ada inside. A crooked little person trying to tell the truth. The power is in the balance: we are or injuries, as much as we are our successes (page 496). Even though in the beginning Adah believed that she needed to be the same as everyone else she eventually realizes that losing her limp is losing herself. Personally I have stolen an arm and a leg. I am still Adah but you would hardly know me now, without my slant. I walk without any noticeable limp. Oddly enough, it has taken me years to accept my new position. I find I no longer have Adah, the mystery of coming and going. Along with my splitbody drag I lost my ability to read in the old way. When I open a book, the words sort themselves into narrow-minded single file on the page; the mirror-image poems erase themselves halfformed in my mind. I miss those poems. Sometimes at night, in secret, I still limp purposefully around my apartment, like Mr. Hyde, trying to recover my old ways of seeing and thinking. Like Jekyll I crave that particular darkness curled up within me (492). Adah never married either she continued to focus on her career for different reasons. The famous upstart neurologist wanted to be my lover, it turned out, and actually won me to his bed for a time. But slowly it dawned upon my love-drunk skull: he had only welcomed me there after devising his program to make me whole! He was the first of several men to suffer the ice storms of Adah Im afraid (531). Adah realizes in the end, that she should have not be influenced by social pressures, and stayed her true self. It was her true self that guided Adah to triumph over her internal struggles and self doubt, to become the independent woman is. Tall and straight I may appear, but I will always be Adah inside. A crooked little person trying to tell the truth. The power is in the balance: we are or injuries, as much as we are our successes (496).

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