Back in Georgia, Adah and Orleanna move into a cabin on the outskirts of their old town. Orleanna throws herself into gardening, and turns out to have an immense talent for making plants flourish. She sells bouquets on the side of the road in order to support herself. Adah decides that it is time to speak, and enters Emory College in Atlanta where she finds a religion that she can truly believe in: science.

Bulungu is in severe danger from the unpredictable Mobutu regime because of Leah's presence as a white woman. With the help of friends from Kilanga, Anatole and Leah try to make their way to Stanleyville, where there is still much popular support for Lumumba. However, in Stanleyville Leah's white skin is the cause of rage and hatred since the people there blame Westerners for the death of their beloved leader. Anatole places Leah in a French mission deep in the jungle, while he remains in Stanleyville and attempts to work with fellow Lumumbists to revive their leader's plan for peace and prosperity. However, on his way back to Stanleyville, Anatole is picked up by military police and imprisoned for his pro-Lumumba work. Leah waits for him patiently in the mission, while she works in the infirmary.

Rachel is happy in Johannesburg with all aspects of her life except Eeben Axelroot, who still has not officially married her and runs off constantly on his shady business ventures. However, she is hatching a plan to snag a new husband, the current husband of her best friend. Daniel, her love interest, is the First Attache to the French Ambassador. He is about to be reassigned to Brazaville, a fact about which his wife is less than happy. Rachel is fairly convinced that she will be successful in her pursuit of Daniel since their affair has already begun, and seems to be going very well.

After three years Anatole is released from prison and marries Leah. The two of them move to his old hometown of Bikoki, where they find his mother's sister Elisabet. Anatole works as the headmaster for the regional high school and Leah volunteers at the clinic and teaches a nutrition class. Brother Fowles and his wife visit and tell them that Pascal was murdered by the army, and that Nathan continues to carry on with his futile work.

Adah is in medical school, and in the process of losing her limp due to the work of a neurologist friend who suggested, correctly, that her handicap is the result of habit and nothing more. Orleanna has moved to Atlanta to be near Adah, and spends her time working for civil rights. Leah is in Atlanta for a visit, along with Anatole and their son Pascal.


The Poisonwood Bible is a family saga and a political allegory. It is also, in a sense, a religious allegory, held together by an overarching theme of sin and redemption. All of the Prices are guilty of versions of the same sin at the beginning of the book. Their sin, in essence, is an unwillingness to deal with the realities of life. Their redemption, for those of them who are redeemed, is to overcome this unwillingness. In "Exodus" we see the remaining Price women struggling toward this goal.