Inner landscapes: An examination of mind style and ambivalence in "The Poisoned Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.
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Set against the back drop of the Belgian Congo made famous by Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Barbara Kingsolver‟s The Poisonwood Bible depicts the trial and tribulation of a missionary's family and the inner lives of its five women protagonists who travel to Belgian Congo in the wake of the family patriarch, Mr. Price. By presenting the story through the narrative voices of Orleanna Price, the wife of the missionary and her four daughters, Kingsolver explores issues of "double colonisation" of women through colonial and post-colonial times. Western women traveling to Africa during colonization find themselves in a problematic position insofar as they consider themselves superior to the natives or colonized and yet are disempowered within Western patriarchy. In order to cope with the contradictory position in which they find themselves they employ different strategies for survival. The intersection of colonial and feminist discourses in the novel creates ambivalence which is the subject of this paper. Through my analysis of mind style, I hope to reveal the ambivalence in The Poisonwood Bible. I examine the language of the 5 narrators because each one of them has a unique and distinctive voice, thereby creating inner landscapes for each which are as divergent as they are varied. Through this analysis I would like to argue that a woman's position in the colonial and post-colonial world can only be ambivalent and since The Poisonwood Bible depicts this uncertainty, Barbara Kingsolver succeeds as a novelist.
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