The Poisonwood Bible as a Catalog of Romanticism Essay
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The Poisonwood Bible as a Catalog of Romanticism
In The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, the romantic standards that are associated with literature during the American Renaissance are evident. This popular novel, a New York Times Bestseller, embodies the concept of Romanticism with its gothic darkness, themes of loss and nostalgia, and a strong captivity narrative. The presence of a wise child and recurring double language are essential to the plot of the story. Nathan Price's misguided mission to save souls in the Congo is transformed into an evil that invades a type of Paradise and so, the reader realizes immediately that this twisted attempt to Christianize the savages will result in a fall of epic proportions. The…show more content…
Much like Natty Bumpo in The Last of the Mohicans, Nathan sets out to expand the boundaries, not of America, but of Christianity. His inroads into the frontier have destructive repercussions that are disguised as progress. Just like James Fenimore Cooper, this author deals with the "ideal boundary" that is the "frontier" and the difference between the "civilized and cultivated" and the "wild and Lawless" (Fiedler 179). Kingsolver adds to this list, however, the 'Christian and heathen' in much the same way. Nathan Price refuses to see the beauty of the system that is in place and struggles to bend Africa to his will; however, the real story lies in the women.
Captivity is a strong theme running throughout American Romantic literature. This novel is a wilderness romance with strong undercurrents of captivity and escape. Not long after arriving in the Congo, their minds are already focused on escape. The jungle is a paradise, but a dark, gothic one where evil lies in wait - in the form of venomous snakes, flesh eating ants, and the poisonwood tree. Just as surely as the slaves in Uncle Tom's Cabin were searching for escape from captivity, so too are these women and children, and their escape is equally fraught with danger. The entire time that they live in the village, they imagine that a return to America will release them from their heartache, but this does not prove to be the case for any of them. Africa takes the life of one sister, holds on to