Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 3, Chapter 5

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 3, Chapter 5


  • After three weeks of Ruth May being in bed, Leah makes her get up. Trying to spark an interest in anything, she feeds an ant to an ant lion.
  • Ruth May, who normally gets a good chuckle out of animal cruelty, doesn't enjoy this. She makes Leah feel guilty about it: "Don't do any more of them, Leah. […] The ant wasn't bad" (3.5.10).
  • After that lecture in "insect morals" (3.5.11), Anatole comes along and chats Leah up for a bit. They talk friends, politics, communism, and fairness (or lack thereof) in the world.
  • Anatole leaves, and Leah takes Ruth May back inside. She contemplates writing a letter home, but "you'd have to explain the words, and then the words for the words" (3.5.130), and then you'd run out of paper.
  • Hey, might as well write a whole book!