The Path Of The Redeemed Essay

1669 words - 7 pages

The path of redemption and salvation presents itself with a different meaning for each character of The Poisonwood Bible. Their process of redeeming or deliverance from destruction shows itself in unique ways with all the characters. On a level it is the story of a family torn apart by the quest of “a man driven by guilt to save those unable to save themselves.” (Ender, Samantha) However after looking more closely at the characters within the family the realization that the children each represent multiple aspects of this “guilt driven man” and as the reader sees them change and grow the image of the changing points in his life. Barbara Kingsolver’s incorporation of multiple narrators ...view middle of the document...

Losing sight of everything else going on around him he eventually becomes ironically consumed by flames, fire being the way he warned the native Congolese would come if they did not heed his advice and become baptized. (Ergeton, Robin) It is Nathan’s burden of guilt that eventually destroys his family, pulling them apart, and changes his life because he chooses to dwell on the past instead of simply accepting the fact that he lived even though his company did not. “He pulled away from my first kiss and my teasing touch, demanding, ‘Can’t you understand the Lord is watching us?’”(Kingsolver, Barbara pg. 197) While this is a subtle example it does provide proof that even after Nathan returned home from war he never dealt with his surviving the Bataan death march. He continues to put blame for everything he does onto others as long as he has the mindset that he can do no wrong since he is following God perfectly. There is nothing Nathan can do to satisfy his absolvement so there is no salvation for him.
Rachel’s self-obsession is much like that of her father’s in that when she sets her eyes on doing or getting something there is almost nothing that can deter them. However while Nathan has become this way due to his quest for redemption Rachel is like this solely because she believe it will get her what she wants, which for the most part it does. For Rachel redemption is as simple as turning a blind eye to the suffering and pain of others by just focusing on her sole survival. Even after the death of Ruth May she allows herself to feel only a moment of grief before she hardens herself towards the memory of her sister and begins her worries on what her friends back home will think of her. She is so consumed with the idea that she might be considered unpopular that she becomes cold to those around her. Of the three daughters that made survived throughout the novel, Rachel was originally the most driven to return home, America, yet ironically of the remaining children she is the only one who never returns back to America.
Leah’s path to redemption is one of suffering. Just as her father take the blame for the death of the fallen soldiers from his past, Leah feels as though all that is going wrong in the Congo is somehow her fault. She continues to try and make things better and even dedicates her life to fight the injustice in Congo along with Anatole. When the novel first starts in the book of Genesis Leah is seen as emulating her father however with the more time she and her family spends following whatever mundane ideas he has the closer she gets to rebelling against it and eventually becoming his antithesis. Her character begins knowing two things, “I crave heaven and to be my father’s favorite.” (Barbara, Kingsolver Pg. 66) That sentence without some much as a comma between the two ideas shows that at this point in the novel Leah considers being godly and her father’s favorite to be the same thing. Leah truly loved her father with a childlike...

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