Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Book 7, Chapter 1

By Barbara Kingsolver

Book 7, Chapter 1

The Eyes in the Trees

  • From her safe place in the trees, Ruth May, or whatever is left of her, narrates this chapter.
  • She tells us, "Every life is different because you passed this way and touched history" (7.1.6).
  • If the Prices hadn't tromped through the jungle that very first day, the okapi startled by their mother would have been shot by a hunter, and the spider Ruth May stomped on would have lived. Those are just the smallest ripples of their visit in the Congo.
  • Flash forward to the end of our story. Orleanna and her three living daughters are in Africa, the mother wanting to put up a grave marker for Ruth May.
  • They talk to a woman at a market, asking her if she's heard any news from Kilanga.
  • The woman responds, "There is no such village. […] There has never been any village on the road past Bulungu" (7.1.26).
  • Kilanga is no more.
  • Finally, Ruth May says she forgives her mother. She implores her to go forward. "Move on. Walk forward into the light" (7.1.29).
  • The end.