Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Of all the Prices, only Nathan does not get the opportunity to tell us his side of the story. Why do you think this is?
The parrot Methuselah turns up many times in the book. What do you think he is meant to symbolize?
Why do you think the book is called The Poisonwood Bible? What are the implications of the title for the book's main themes?
Suggested Essay Topics
If you had to choose one member of the Price family as the principle protagonist of the book, who would it be? Why?
Nathan and Rachel are alike in many significant ways. Explain how they are alike, and what part this similarity plays in furthering the message of the book.
Why do you think Kingsolver chose to tell the story through the eyes of five different characters rather than just one?
The last sentence of the book is, "Walk forward into the light." What do you think the significance of this phrase is in relation to the main themes of the novel?
Forgiveness seems to be a central theme in the novel, but each narrator seems to have a different attitude toward the notion. Discuss forgiveness in relation to Orleanna, Leah, Adah, Rachel, and Ruth May. What does each women feel she needs to forgive, or be forgiven for? How successful are they at giving or finding this forgiveness? Do you think that Kingsolver intended us to take away any message concerning forgiveness? If so, what is that message in your view? Do you agree with it?
In what way does love act as a form of salvation in the lives of the Price women? Does it figure any more prominently in the lives of some characters than in the lives of others?
At the end of the book, the woman in the market insists that there is no village of Kilanga. What are we to make of this?
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