The to her youngest child who is perpetually left

The Poisonwood Bible ultimately communicates that as humans live they acquire their own history, and therefore their own story. History is originally retold through the perspectives of people who experience it, therefore it is littered with, and consequently altered by, their own personal emotions and memories attached to the moments. Adah Price, arguably the most introspective narrator in the novel, sums up human life to be “what they stole from history, and how they live with it,” which further reiterates the concept that humans redefine history by telling their own stories and recollections of what is most true to them and how they are managing what they experience. The notion that humans “steal” something from history is clearly conveyed through Adah’s dialogue, which indicates that as humans adopt history as their own stories, and thereby change it, they are stealing some of the authenticity that accompanies history (Kingsolver 492). The Poisonwood Bible in its entirety communicates the variation that can occur in the storytelling of history through the perspectives of the five narrators: Orleanna, Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May. Each narrator relays the same events in different ways that are accommodating to their personality and their disposition on being in the Congo. For instance, Ruth May’s narrations of events typically have a cheerful connotation and perceive the Congo as an adventurous, whereas her older sister, Rachel, relentlessly demeans the Congo through her recollections. Although both girls are recounting the same events, the dissimilarity between their storytellings creates contrasting impressions on the reader. Overall, The Poisonwood Bible and the five distinct narratives within it, create five alterations of history: the five separate stories adapted from the single truth. There is an undeniable relationship between the first and last chapters of the novel. In the first chapter, it is Orleanna who is narrating, repenting and apologizing to her youngest child who is perpetually left behind in the Congo. Then, in response to the first chapter, it appears to be Ruth May concluding the novel by bestowing her mother with forgiveness. The first chapter comes full-circle within the last, where Orleanna is gifted the forgiveness she was begging for. The concept of a “ruin” is presented in both the opening and closing chapters, and both refer to the African forests, but are illustrated in different ways. Within the first chapter the “ruin” is presented as an ominous, mysterious and almost a devilish concept, where it is clearly apart, if not the root, of Orleanna’s overt sorrow and guilt-ridden conscious. Later, at the conclusion of the novel, the “ruin” is presented in a more positive light, loosely resembling heaven, or a peace inducing safe-space of some sort. The way Ruth May describes it is contradictory to the description Orleanna provides; in the most basic sense, Orleanna’s opening narration obtains a negative connotation, where Ruth May’s closing narration obtains a positive connotation. Similarly to the revisitation of the “ruin” in the first and the last chapters, the okapi makes a debut in the beginning and ending of the novel. Initially, without knowing the characters or what they are about to go through, the okapi superficially appears simply as a beautifully rare moment amongst Orleanna’s somber and desolate recollection. Later, after witnessing the trials and tribulations the Price family undergoes, the way the okapi “lives through the year” because the “mother and children had … come down the path,” can serve as symbolism for the relationship between life and death. The okapi, by the end of the novel, symbolizes life and death where it is reiterated that the simple passing by of the Price women caused the spider to die and the okapi to live. Later, when the Price women go to visit Ruth May’s grave they learn that their village no longer exists, hence the representation of death, but the gift of the wooden okapi immortalizes Ruth May, providing Orleanna with the forgiveness she has been granted, therefore representing life. Essentially, the okapi represents that where there is life, there is death, and vice versa. Throughout The Poisonwood Bible African concepts such as “nommo” and “muntu” are repeatedly referenced. Previously established, a name in African culture is full of significance and meaning. Ruth May designates herself as “muntu Africa” indicating that she has become one with Africa, also reiterating that in African culture there is no distinguishable difference between an alive man, dead man or god, as Ruth May has been dead for a long while. This is significant not only because it is Ruth May’s first appearance since her death, but because Ruth May has returned with a more mature outlook on life, given to her through death. Ruth May provides Orleanna with the forgiveness she has been searching for, and soothes the guilt she conveys throughout the whole novel. Book seven in its entirety is significant because it provides closure in its most basic sense; it concludes the very passage that opened the novel. When Ruth May discloses that she is “the glide of belly on branch. The mouth thrown open wide, sky blue. She is all that is here. The eyes in the trees never blink,” which is a referral to when she was sick and Nelson tells her to visualize her safe space every day. She decides that her safe space will be a green-mamba in the trees, which is exactly where she goes after death (Kingsolver 537). Ruth May, through embodying a green-mamba snake, further provides closure within book seven by communicating to the readers that she is in her own safe space. Ultimately, the purpose of book seven is to provide closure to a trying and chasmic novel, not only for the characters, but for the audience as well. Kingsolver injects numerous political allusions into The Poisonwood Bible, one of the most overt ones being Methuselah the parrot. Methuselah is a metaphor for the Congo, where Methuselah is encaged by the Prices alike the Congo is encaged by Belgium. Methuselah has spent so much time caged away he dies soon after he is released, similarly to how once the Congo gains independence from Belgium, chaos ensues and violence breaks out, crippling the Congo. Another political allusion happens to be at the turning point of the novel, when Ruth May dies. The day Ruth May dies is also the day Patrice Lumumba is assassinated, creating a connection between two central positive figures of two seperate groups. Ruth May was the only member of the Price family that maintained an unwaveringly cheerful outlook, and the day she died so did Patrice Lumumba, the positive and hopeful figure representing the Congo’s independence. Another way to interpret The Poisonwood Bible could be as a religious allegory.