Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 3, Chapter 19

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 3, Chapter 19


  • The first thing Rachel thinks to save when the ants come: her mirror. She rips it off the wall and runs for the river.
  • Unable to get through the crush of people, Rachel remembers a survival book she read: How to Survive 101 Calamities. Being devoured by bajillions of ants in the Congo must have been the 102nd calamity, but Rachel applies another one to this situation: she sticks her elbows hard into the ribs of the people around her and picks her feet up.
  • "Instead of getting trampled [she] simply floated like a stick in a river, carried along everyone else's power" (3.19.4). Um, good strategy?
  • It doesn't save her mirror, though. At the river, she tries to get into a boat with another family, but they push her over. She drops the mirror, and it breaks.
  • Uh oh. You know what that means.
  • "They left me. […] Just left me flat, in the middle of all that bad luck and broken sky" (3.19.7).