Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 2, Chapter 4

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 2, Chapter 4


  • Mother sends Leah and Adah to run errands. Leah leaves Adah behind, as usual, because Adah is slower.
  • Adah decides to go for a walk. On the way home, she has a creepy feeling, like "someone was behind, someone or something" (2.4.14).
  • When she gets home, no one seems to have noticed she was gone, and she slips into her room.
  • Later, Tata Ndu comes and tells the family that "the little crooked white child" (2.4.19) had been eaten by a lion.
  • Her mother is shocked, but her father instantly leads the family in prayer. Adah interprets Tata Ndu's proudly raised head as a sign that "he had won" (2.4.21) against Father, whose corrupt child has been eaten alive. In other words, Adah getting eaten is a sign that Father (and Christianity) are wrong.
  • At this point, Adah comes out to say, yo, I didn't die, and everything returns to normal. The next day she discovers that a lion had devoured a bushbuck near some of her footprints from the previous evening's walk.