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Adah, Poisonwood Bible

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Tags: biblejudgementPoisonwood

Essay type: argumentative essay

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In The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver presents a continuum of characters. Varying from the self-absorbed and eldest daughter, Rachel Price, to the fun-loving, sweet, and youngest daughter Ruth May. Imbetween there are the twins, Leigh and Adah. Leigh is adventurous and exceedingly obedient to her father who shows neither her nor the rest of their family any respect. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Adah Price. She is quiet, poetic, and an introvert. Although Leigh and Adah are identical in intellegence, Adah was born with Hemiplegia; meaning, only half of her body functions properly. Because of her disablity, she sees the world differently than the rest of her family. Her judgement, feelings, perspective, and life are all altered due to her illness. This stimulates an interesting and inquiring voice for the novel. This book was set in 1959, meaning segregation was still prevalent. For a white family of six to travel deep into the Congo during this time was unthinkable. As each member of the family develops a negative outlook on their new surroundings, Adah is quickly becoming intrigued with the Congo's culture. When the Price family expresses their uncertainty of their new home, Adah says to herself "And so the Price family passes its judgements. All but Adah. Adah unpasses her judgements. I am the one who does not speak" (32). I find this to be one of the most compelling aspects of Adah. The way she doesn't conform with even her family in a place that she is hardly accustomed to. Another influential part of Adah that caught my attention was her perspective on things. Not only did she view the world from an entirely different angle than the rest of the Congo, but she saw other people's sides, too. She understood the difference between things that most people would rather ignore than try to comprehend. It's almost as if she had the hidden meaning to everything. When thinking about misunderstanding, she states that it is her "... cornerstone. " She then goes on to add that, "It's everyone's come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet. They are what we call civilization" (532). Adah's words were wise and poetic, making sense only if you looked deep into them. Like her words, Adah only made sense if you really looked deep into her. She was quiet, yet her personality was not shy. She could not use half of her body, yet she was the strongest in her family. She was the contradiction, the exception. Adah knew this, it is what I believe made her so dark inside. She had an abundant amount of things going around in her mind. From questioning her being and life, to questioning where she belonged. To sort this all out she wrote in her journal. Her unique mind allowed her to write backwards or forwards, depending on how personal the subject was that she was writing about. Once she wrote, "All the noise in my brain, I clamp it to the page so it will be still" (532). Considering that I see writing from the same perspective, this simple statement instantly connected me to Adah. As I read this book, I found myself waiting for Adah's input on things. Although her mind is dark and she doubted things that should never be doubted, I quickly began to feel extremely understanding of everything she said. I felt most connected to her when she spoke of her place in the world. She said "Only occasionally do I find I have to break my peace: shout or be lost in the shuffle. But mostly am lost in the shuffle" (34). Often I find myself lost in the shuffle of life. Overwhelmingly trampled by the abiding choices, people, and words needed to be said. I am a quiet person with a complex mind. To read Adah's view in this book was equivelant to reading her mind. Or mine. The greatest part about Adah is that although she was dark minded and cripped, and a handful of other negative things, my brainstorming sheet was only filled with good qualities. Poetic, observant, interested, unique, quiet, and having an incredible perspective. The good finally outdid the bad. Somewhere between the search for peace within herself and her world, and finding her purpose in life, I developed a friendship with her. It's as if her thoughts were what I needed to hear. "We are the balance of our damage and our transgressions" (533), she stated in her final chapter. When the book started she was young and unsure. As it ended she was strong and educated on the upheaval of life. I look up to Adah and hope to have the
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