Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 5, Chapter 11

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 5, Chapter 11

Rachel Price. The Equatorial. 1984.

  • Anatole is about to get out of prison. Woohoo! Leah's mother has arranged for Adah to ride on a boat to Spain and drive a Land Rover to West Africa. Adah, Leah, and Rachel will take the Land Rover to pick up Anatole, where he and Leah "have the crackpot scheme of setting up a farm commune" (5.9.2) in Angola according to Rachel.
  • Yikes. Sounds complicated.
  • Rachel's a little bitter that their mother hasn't raised any money for her to help her put in plumbing at the Equatorial. Oh, girl.
  • When Rachel asks Leah and Adah to come up and see the Equatorial, Leah wants to get Anatole first. Rachel isn't sure if she wants to allow Anatole at the hotel.
  • "Don't bother. You have your standards of white supremacy to uphold" (5.9.5), comments Leah. Well, this is off to a good start!
  • The sisters spend much of the trip arguing. At one point, they stop at the ancient palace at Abomey.
  • The tour guide tells them that the mud walls are made with the bones of slaves and the feet of the throne are the skulls of the king's enemies. Umm, does that make property values go up or down on Zillow?
  • After the tour, the sisters sit down for a meal and a drink. They gossip about their father.
  • Leah tells them that she heard he was dead. A child died in the river, and the villagers blamed it on Father, who was always trying to get kids to go into the river. They chased him up a rickety watchtower, set it on fire, and left him there to burn.
  • Adah and Leah make a toast to Father. "Jesus is poisonwood!" (5.9.137). (Now that's some daughterly love.)
  • Rachel doesn't get it.