The Poisonwood Bible

Voice in The Poisonwood Bible 12th Grade

The use of one’s voice is one of the most powerful weapons humans possess. Yet, too often it is not used to its full potential, and rather, is overlooked, used to harm, or silenced altogether. Voices are shaped over many years and experiences, and they evolve throughout a lifetime. Each individual possesses a voice unique and exclusive to himself or herself, and this expression of self can never be taken away unless one allows it to be. In her novel, The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsovler investigates this idea of voice by writing a story told through the point of view of five different women. Through the lens of Orleanna, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May, the reader is able to better understand the intense, complex situation of the Congo at this time because it is presented through five different view points. When the same story is told and retold with different perspectives and filters, the reader is able to truly grasp the entire picture. Kingsolver’s use and exploration of the technique of voice in The Poisonwood Bible enables her to create a complex novel with many layers, as her characters and their voices evolve throughout their time in the Congo and beyond.

Rather than writing the novel in third person or a singular...

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