The Poisonwood Bible

In what way does love act as aform of salvation in the lives of the Price women? How is marriage shown?

How does love allow them to feel a redemption in their lives?

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Kingsolver explores the nature of marriage when she introduces two characters who have wedded despite their tendency to be mutually destructive. Orleanna Price marries Nathan Price as a young girl, partly because she is in love, and perhaps even more because of the Great Depression which forces her family to send one of its children away. Yet, when Nathan returns from the war he is damaged profoundly - causing him to become cruel and cold to his wife, and later to his children.

Reflecting on these events and her time in Africa, Orleanna begins to describe both her own marriage, and the marriage of Africa to the white imperial Western nations in a similar vein. Just as she was conquered by Nathan Price - first through love and the thought of a better life - soon she was tyrannized by him and his cruel and vengeful God. In the same way, Africa is a wife to her white invaders. They first promise help and charity, but end up plundering all her riches - diamonds, rubber, and other natural resources. They enslave the continent's people and devise ways to keep her continuously in debt so that she will never be free.

Just as Orleanna Price was in a hurtful and abusive relationship that she was forced to flee from, so too is Africa in an abusive relationship with those that conquered her. Though Orleanna was able to take her children and escape the land, Africa is in a much less tenable position. The violence and cruelty that devastates the land and people will not be as easy to fix and as a result, these thoughts haunt the Price women for the rest of their lives.