Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 4, Prologue

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 4, Prologue

  • Another day, another prologue—this one called "The Serpent/ What We Lost."
  • This entire prologue is Orleanna telling us how power in the Congo switched from the murdered Lumumba to Joseph Mobutu. The U.S. is A-OK with this regime change, because it gives them more control.
  • Orleanna says that you cannot separate yourself from history: "To hold yourself apart from the lot of more powerful men is an illusion" (4.Prologue.21).
  • It's impossible to know where her story starts, she says. Did it start when they arrived in the Congo? When she married Nathan? When white men first came to the Congo? There may be no way to find the beginning.