The Symbolic Significance of Methuselah as It Reflects the Price Family in Specific and the Congo in General in the Book "The Poisonwood Bible"

735 Words Feb 5th, 2011 3 Pages
Methuselah is a parrot character in The Poisonwood Bible written by Barbara Kingsolver. The novel is set in the late 20th century in a village of The Congo call Kilanga. Methuselah is a parrot who is left by brother Fowls for the Price family. He has been denied freedom for very long and has been kept in a cage. Later when Nathan Price sets him free, he has no idea what to do with his independence. So he keeps flying near the Price house and depends on the Price girls for food. When Congo’s independence is announced, Methuselah gets killed and eaten by a cat. The imprisonment and freedom of Methuselah can symbolize the current and the future conditions of the Price family as well as the colonization and independence of The Congo. …show more content…
The Belgians had colonized The Congo for its natural resources like many other western powers at the time that “aimed for no more than have dominion on every creature that moved upon this earth” (10) as it is confessed by Orleanna at the beginning of the novel. In a very similar way, Methuselah was kept in a cage by the humans against its will only because it was a weaker creature. Just like The Congo, Methuselah is not allowed the freedom of speech as every time he says something, Nathan Price gets mad and inquires “which one of [the daughters] taught [it] to say that word” (76). In a similar way, The Congo is denied the freedom of speech and is not considered as a sovereign state. The effects of the colonization of The Congo can still be seen as the country could not cope up with it even after half a century. The country remains poor and divided as it is not used to work on its own and enjoy the freedom of living. The same happens with Methuselah after Nathan tells him that “(he is) free to go” (94) and grants him freedom. Methuselah had forgotten what freedom feels like and “it goes and then it comes back because its wings aren’t any count” (133). Because of this Methuselah cannot survive on its own and later he gets killed and eaten by a cat. Comparing Methuselah with hope Adah declares that she had found hope “fallen already” (185) and she adds that “a piece of it [was there] beside their latrine, one red plume” (185). In an act

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