The Poisonwood Bible greatly embodies the spirit of competition in several ways. One way it does this is through the lack of civility in Nathan, the Price father and patriarch. Nathan is abusive and constantly tries to control the Price women. He sees the women as lesser beings and constantly belittles them. They eventually have enough of Nathan’s antics and leave him. Another way competition is embodied in this book is through the rivalry between the Belgians and the Congolese. This conflict, rarely touched upon first hand in the book, drives much of the books actions as the Congolese people struggle for independence from the oppressive Belgian regime.
Also, competition is seen in the failure of Nathan to convert the Congolese people to Christianity. Nathan constantly tries to convert the people of Kilanga from the traditional religion to Christianity, but due to his refusal to acknowledge local customs and because of cultural barriers, he ultimately fails and is killed for his actions. Overall, The Poisonwood Bible is an amazing story of competition in which the Prices must struggle and fight to adapt and survive in the Congo.
The Poisonwood Bible is available through Indiana Humanities Novel Conversations lending library. Request a set (for free!) for your book club today.
In September, October and November, Indiana Humanities is exploring the topic of “civility,” as part of its Spirit of Competition theme.