Poisonwood Bible: Analysis of Ruth May

Category: Bible, Poisonwood Bible
Last Updated: 10 Jan 2022
Essay type: Analysis
Pages: 2 Views: 742

Point/Purpose: The classic novel The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, features, among her three other sisters and mother, Ruth May Price, who is the 5 year old daughter of Reverend Nathan Price, who has been stationed in the Congo for a mission trip in the name of the Baptist Church in the year 1959, a time when many of the racial biases and attitudes toward Africans and women are still prevalent in the US, especially the Prices home state of Georgia.

These biases and views have rubbed off on Ruth May, who as a young child absorbs and regurgitates all that she hears and experiences, which is why Ruth May represents the ignorance of some Western views towards the customs and general bias towards anyone with an African background. However, as she is integrated into her new society, Ruth May is able to befriend the entirety of the children in the settlement.

Quotation/question: The biased way that Ruth May has been taught to see her future, along with how young and uneducated she is shown when she says, “Father says a girls can’t go to college because they’ll pour water in your shoes,” (pg 117). The way that Ruth May talks about her own gender and the Africans is very ignorant. Commentary: Ruth May has been affected by her surroundings very dramatically.

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The way that she thinks about Africans and women in a lesser manner than American men shows makes her situation a perfect example of nature vs.nurture. In this case, Ruth May is a product of her past, and her biased outlook on life is due to the way that she was brought up in the southern United States, which was a hotbed for racism in the early to mid-20th century. This state of mind is not permanent, however. Ruth May is just a child, and it is believed that children’s minds are the most moldable, so even though she had a prejudiced mind Ruth May has changed by hanging around the African kids.

Ruth May is not only a character, as she could very well be an attempt by the author to show the biased nature of the south in 1959. Ruth May is an innocent result of her father and other men’s prejudice towards women and Africans. Technique: Barbara Kingsolver’s method to defining Ruth May’s character is based on her limited vocabulary and grammar knowledge, along with showing how she is a sponge for information.

The way that Ruth May is allowed to be within the vicinity of conversations that the other girls would normally be unable to listen into shows how it is believed that, since she is just a young child, she is unable of making sense of the more mature topics that may be discussed. And this is true for the most part, as Ruth May mostly just simply files away the information that she may have been privy to. The author shows clearly Ruth May’s age along with her innocence and ability to accept information easily by writing from her point of view in the way that it would be expected a 5-year-old would think and act.

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Poisonwood Bible: Analysis of Ruth May. (2016, Aug 22). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/poisonwood-bible-analysis-of-ruth-may/

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