Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 2, Chapter 3

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 2, Chapter 3

Rachel

  • The Prices invite Anatole, the schoolteacher, to dinner. He has quite a history, being an orphan who once worked in diamond mines, but all Rachel can think about when she hears "diamonds" is "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Shallow, much?
  • Even though Father thinks Anatole is his ally (Anatole translates Father's sermons into Congolese), he gets mad when Anatole tries to tell him the truth about how his religion is being received in the village.
  • Tata Ndu, the chief, is happy with it because only the "bad-luck people" (2.3.18) are being drawn toward Christianity, so "the village's spirit protectors will not notice them too much" (2.3.18).
  • However, he's worried Christianity's "corrupt ways" (2.3.18) will anger the gods.
  • Father isn't too happy to hear his religion called "corrupt," but Anatole keeps going. He tells him there is another nganga, or minister, in the village: Tata Kuvudundu, whom Father thinks is a witch doctor.
  • After another brief argument, Father asks Anatole to leave. Mother tries to put a nice spin on things, but Father tells her to "shut up" (2.3.52) and yanks her favorite plate out of her hands, smashing it to bits. Nice. That's a really Christian act.
  • Oh, but he has an excuse: "You were getting too fond of that plate" (2.3.53), he tells her. Wow, jealous much? Of dinnerware?