Barbara Kingsolver 's The Poisonwood Bible Essay

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Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ accentuates the relationship between those in power, the bourgeoisie (Westerners), and those subordinated to power, the proletariat (Congolese). Socio-economic forces including political and religious ideologies are used as a means to justify colonial control within the Congo. According to Marxist literary criticism, “these overarching ideologies make up the ‘superstructure’ which functions to legitimize the power of the ruling class in society.”- a concept Western countries, especially America, inflict upon the oblivious natives of the Congo in attempt to maintain power. Nathan Price, a bigoted proselytizing baptist whose inability to perceive value in non-Western cultures and adapt to foreign ways of living and preaching his narrow-minded religion in the jungles of the Congo, is a harbinger for the ultimate failure of his entire mission. In comparison to Nathan, Tata Ndu the chief of Kilanga argues against Nathan’s superior approach towards the Congolese, “You believe we are mwana, your children, who knew nothing until you came here. Tata Price, I am an old man who learned from other old men." Tata Ndu shows that Western Christianity is ill fitted for the needs of the Congolese through criticizing Nathan’s pigheaded stubbornness and profound Western arrogance, “but you would have to know how to sit down and listen.” Tata Ndu values older people’s opinions and accepts knowledge that’s been passed down to him, whereas Nathan
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