Poisonwood Bible

by: Barbara Kingsolver

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

I felt the breath of God go cold on my skin.

Leah utters this as she rows with Anatole across the river and away from the driver ants, in Book Three. Amid the tumult of escape, Leah and Anatole continue an ongoing discussion of race and justice, and Leah finally suffers her ultimate crisis of faith. Moments later she replaces her old faith with a new one, murmuring Anatole's name over and over feeling that, "it took the place of prayer." Her love for Anatole becomes her new anchoring force, taking the place of her father and his simplistic vision of God.

Though it is Anatole who goads her here into admitting that life is not an equation with deeds on one side and reward and punishment on the other, his last small pushes are really superfluous. Leah's crisis has been building steadily, egged on by her observations in Kingala and Leopoldville, as well as by her eye- opening philosophical discussion with Anatole. However, it takes the mortal tumult caused by the driver ants to finally sever her desperate ties to a belief in a just and comforting God. Convinced that they are all about to die, she no longer has the will to force herself to believe in something she has probably not truly believed in for many months.