Comparing two main characters from the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian writer opines, "People go to Africa and confirm what they already have in their heads and so they fail to see what is there in front of them." The main characters of the novel The Poisonwood Bible, would be absolutely one of those people visiting Africa.


Rachel was an eldest daughter of the Price family, and the most unlikely person in the world who can bear with Africa. Incidentally, she happens to remain in the South Africa, successfully running a luxurious hotel, the Equatorial. However, she with several failed marriages was a disillusioned person. Rachel is the youngest of the wise sisters. Leah decides to live in Angola. She has her own humble family with a well-educated black man, called Anatole. Moreover, along with this, she spends her days, devoting her whole life for the needs of the native people; and her family in Africa.
Though Rachel and Leah were of the same parents, and shared their childhoods together, they have different personalities and values. In addition, their approaches to overcome various hardships when they were young are dramatically different. Some of the extreme situations show Rachel as a person chasing her selfish and materialistic goal, with her superficial scope of thoughts. Leah, on the other hand was a model of what people ought to be. This gradually shapes Leah's life into a meaningful one, whereas Rachel lives a meaningless life.
The beginning of the book depicts the arrival of the Price family to Congo. The way, Rachel and Leah respond to this new environment and their efforts to understand the new cultures are quite different. They are poles apart in the personalities and their perspectives of life are different from each other. ...
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