Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 3, Chapter 2

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 3, Chapter 2


  • Adah spends the first part of this chapter explaining the diff between muntu, kuntu, and nommo. This is important, but no worries if you zone out for a minute: we'll go over it in our Symbols section.
  • Zipping ahead a little bit, we see Nelson tell Adah that, in Kilanga, mothers of twins leave the twins to die in the jungle. They're bad luck.
  • He asks Adah what happened when her mother didn't leave her to die. Adah responds, "WE WON THE WAR" (3.2.24). She's not shouting, that's just how she writes when she prefers not to talk.
  • Adah finds it ironic that the religion of Kilanga has instructions for twins, but the Bible, "with its absolutely prodigious abundance of words, gave no specific instructions to mothers of newborn twins" (3.2.29).
  • One more bit of Congolese Language 101 for you: batiza, which Father is always uttering, means baptism... but it also means "to terrify" (3.2.36), which is exactly what he's been doing.