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THE POISONWOOD BIBLE 'Cultural arrogance is presented as the great sin of the West and traditional forms of Christianity as one of this sin's primary vehicles.' How do you respond to Kingsolver's portrayal of Christianity?

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  • Essay length: 3183 words
  • Submitted: 05/04/2005
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GCSE Prejudice and Discrimination

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'Cultural arrogance is presented as the great sin of the West and traditional forms of Christianity as one of this sin's primary vehicles.' How do you respond to Kingsolver's portrayal of Christianity?

Kingsolver's concern with Christianity is evident in the very title of The Poisonwood Bible. She uses 'books' to divide the novel into sections, which, with names like Genesis and The Revelation, reflect the books of the Bible. As the novel progresses, the structure deviates from that of its biblical namesakes: there is a shift in order - Exodus is placed centrally - and new books with titles such as The Eyes in the Trees are introduced (Kingsolver's own appellations). These names present the reader with the idea that Kingsolver is rewriting the central Christian text, adapting it for her own story. Thus religion is heralded as a significant presence in the book, not just thematically, but structurally.

Throughout The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver uses her characters to represent forms of attitudes to Christianity. The primary expositor is Nathan, who sustains forceful, evangelical beliefs throughout. He has no voice of his own, but all accounts affirm to the reader that he is consumed by his faith.

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