Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 2, Chapter 1

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 2, Chapter 1

Leah Price

  • Leah's pondering gender roles in the Congo, specifically the fact that men wear women's sweaters. Weird. On the other hand, she thinks, "how would he or anyone here ever know it's a lady's sweater?" (2.1.3) .
  • Even though Leah can climb trees as well as the boys, she thinks it's time, at the ripe old age of fifteen, to start acting like a good Christian lady.
  • However, she's dismayed that despite spending a lot of time reading books, the children in Kilanga seem to know more than she does. At least more practical things.
  • They don't play with Leah either; but they play with Ruth May. She's taught the Kilanga children to play "Mother May I?"
  • After a while, the kids get tired of Ruth May's bossiness, and only one kid remains behind: Pascal. He's Leah's first nkundi, or friend.
  • He teaches her about the gender differences in the villages, and they teach each other words in their language.
  • Plus, he has all his teeth! This is apparently an important criterion, and Leah invites him to her house.
  • Leah's wowed by how adept he is at everything (like surviving) when her white, civilized hands can do nothing at all.